Skip to main content

tv   Public Affairs  CSPAN  March 6, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

5:00 pm
down and meet with your staff and talk about that possibility. but i do think the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets has a devastating impact on our economy, threatens our national security and is worthy of our attention. this is a problem that is large but is getting larger and something as you look over the horizon this is an area we will have to devote more attention as a nation. >> i'm glad to hear you say that, probably the most greatest widespread theft in human history and it does have negative impacts. . . . have a very positive impact on public safety. we were supposed to be having a session of the senate law enforcement caucus today to hear testimony from kentucky and delaware about the justice reinvestment initiative. we flew some people in.
5:01 pm
unfortunately the inclim ate weather canceled it. it's a place where bipartisan bills at the state level have led with federal partnership to the critical catalytic investments in improving criminal justice systems. the bulletproof partnership is something -- i had a police officer from dover, delaware, a couple months ago, was shot twice close range in the chest and survived. the county where i used to serve, their lives were saved. we should be re-authorizing this program. i look forward working with you on that. last question if i could, in the same vein. the victims of child abuse act and the child advocacy centers that it funds, i think are an enormous resource for law enforcement and prevent the revictimization by children who were traumatized to be interviewed once. it has all the relevant folks
5:02 pm
there and present. the one i visited, a children's hospital in new cassel county, the resource for our community and our law enforcement community is terrific. i was surprised that it was zeroed out last year. i'm hoping i could rely on your support for restoring funding to this small but cumulatively powerful program in the f.y. 2012 budget. any thoughts on the thought of child advocacy centers? >> i was one that centered the child advocacy center in washington, d.c. i know the positive impact it has on child victims of crime, the decision to eliminate this funding was a difficult one. deficit issues, you know, restoring fiscal sustainability was all a consideration. the office of justice programs, after i spoke to you, has come up with ways in which they think they can prioritize some grant making and training to help in that regard.
5:03 pm
but i'm just going to, you know, i think as we look at the budget for the next year that given what we get from the advocacy centers and the relatively small amount that is involved that this has to be part of the next budget. i'm not satisfied with what we are now with regard to the present budget. i think that was a mistake. >> thank you, mr. attorney general. i look forward working with you as a member of the budget committee, i think all of us here recognize that we have forced far too many of the cuts we made in the last two years just in the narrow area of domestic discretionary and having a negative impact on things like criminal justice, strengthen our communities in infrastructure, r&d, education. i look forward to a broader solution. i am grateful for your service. thank you. >> thank you.
5:04 pm
>> senator grassley. >> [inaudible] >> senator blumenthal. >> good morning, attorney general holder. thank you for being here. thank you for your leadership of the department of justice in areas that are so important -- voting rights, doma and other areas that are critical to the future of justice in this country, and i want to thank both you and the president for your leadership on gun violence prevention and particularly his and your personal commitment to the people of newtown who are still grieving and hurting and your personal involvement in trying to ease those continuing trauma that still affect them as recently as yesterday in our telephone conversation. i want to focus for the moment on gun violence prevention. as a law enforcement professional, not just as attorney general, but one who has been a judge and a
5:05 pm
prosecutor, this whole idea of better enforcement of existing laws is one that we both agree ought to be the goal and it always is for any prosecutor. and yet enforcement of some of these laws is impeded by gaps in those laws such as the absence of background checks on firearms which now enable about 40% of all firearms purchases to go without any check whatsoever. you would agree with that, wouldn't you? >> yeah. there are loopholes. as we come to describe them. that make the enforcement of existing laws extremely difficult and render those existing laws not nearly as effective as they might otherwise be. >> and those laws now prohibit purchases of firearms by categories of people, convicted felons, fugitives, drug addicts and abusers and domestic
5:06 pm
violence abusers. purchases of firearms and ammunition. both firearms and ammunition. right now there are no background checks as to purchases of ammunition. none whatsoever. and as a matter of common sense as well as law enforcement professionalism, i think you'd agree that those laws are better enforced with background checks as to ammunition purchases, would you agree? >> yeah. i think -- i'd like to discuss this with you some more. one of the concerns i have is a resource concern. you know, i think that theoretically what you are you a talking about -- what you're talking about makes a lot of sense. i think that's a real -- it would have a real positive impact. my only concern is the nics
5:07 pm
system is potentially overburdened and making sure we have the resources to do that. >> and just by way of background, you know, i've asked two of the u.s. attorneys who have been active and aggressive enforcers of these laws, u.s. attorney haffei, for example, whether these laws can be enforced, for example, without background checks for ammunition, and to quote both of us, do you have any effective way of enforcing that law, the prohibition on ammunition purchases? answer, no. so when you are asked by my colleagues, why aren't you more aggressively enforcing these laws, why don't we have more prosecutions? the very simple answer is that there's no real way to enforce
5:08 pm
these bans on ammunition purchases or firearms purchases unless there are background checks. and i understand and recognize and sympathize with your point about resources, but if we're serious about these gun violence prevention laws that keep ammunition and firearms out of the hands of criminals, we need to strengthen and bolster that nics system so that we make these laws something more than just a charade and a feel-good set of words on statute. >> we need to make greater use of the nics system and to make resources available so it can be used in a way to support existing laws. because those people who constantly say you have to enforce the laws don't necessarily give us the tools to enforce those very laws. >> exactly. and i want to again thank you and the president for that
5:09 pm
commitment on resources and also say as the major proponent of the background check provision for ammunition, i'm looking for ways to modify this proposal so as to perhaps make it voluntary and give licensed dealers the access that they need to the system. as you know right now they are barred from checking. they see somebody come in, a potential adam lanza, who is buying hundreds of rouns of .223 caliber ammunition, they have no way of checking whether he is a drug abuser, a domestic abuser, a convicted felon, a fugitive, anyone in those prohibitive categories. they simply are at a loss for basic information to try to protect the public. the best intention can't help them help you enforce the law. so i'm hoping we can work
5:10 pm
together on this provision. i repeat, i am sympathetic to the resource issue. if it were my say alone, those resources would be available right now. and if you -- >> let's see if we can work something out, then, so you have that availability. >> thank you. let me move to another subject, and i really appreciate your answers on that one. wrongful foreclosures, among particularly military mortgageholders. there have been recent reports, more recently in "the new york times" 700 members of the military had homes seized and other borrowers who were current on their mortgage payments also homes seized. those improper evictions
5:11 pm
dwarfing the numbers that were previously known. a sign of a larger problem, a sign that the recent settlement may have been based on incorrect, perhaps untruthful information, in my view, more than ample basis for investigation by the department of justice under either the rico statute or wrongful, improper statements under federal law, punishable criminally. i'd like your commitment, again, to work with me and others here on the responsibility of an investigation based on those disclosures that undermine the good faith and fairness of that settlement and the government's improvement in it. >> i'll make that commitment. when we look at what i say that with regard to service members, i did a tape i think last week for something that is for veterans to make them aware of fraud, more basic fraud that
5:12 pm
they face that too often goes unreported by them for a whole variety of reasons to try to encourage them to share information up the chain of command and also to make sure there is a mechanism so that from the defense department to the justice department we're made aware of trends along the lines that you're describing and we will become involved. i will work with you on that. >> thank you. and one final area that i think is and should be of interest to you, sexual assault in the military. >> yes. >> is prosecuted and punished under its own system and yet it is a predatory criminal act that in my view should be punished with a severity and aggressiveness that is lacking right now. and as a member of the armed services committee, i am
5:13 pm
speaking to -- seeking to help increase the completeness and fairness of this system to protect men and women from sexual assault, sometimes the most severe sexual assault imaginable. and you have resources, a perspective personally as a prosecutor, obviously the best prosecutors and investigative agents in the whole country and i would again respectfully ask your commitment that you will help us on the armed services committee with your expertise and your commitment to fairness and aggressive prosecution of these laws. >> yeah. those are obviously -- not obviously but those are primarily the responsibility of the defense department. >> right. >> secretary panetta certainly focused attention on that. i expect secretary hagel will as well. if we can help we will do all we can. you know, i think about the young people who put their
5:14 pm
lives on the line in service to our nation, young women in particular, and look at the numbers that you see repeatedly year after year. and that's an extremely disturbing thing to do that you volunteer for your nation and as a result of that you become a victim of a sexual assault and that is simply -- that is simply not acceptable. >> i want to make clear that my asking for your assistance is not to in any way disparage or denigrate the good faith and efforts of secretary hagel and the joint chiefs and all the military leadership to making this system work better. they are in my view thoroughly committed to that goal. thank you. >> thank you. >> i would note, too, and it's been my experience since he's been attorney general, anytime i called attorney general holder on any issue we'd be able to contact almost
5:15 pm
immediately and i do appreciate that. i appreciate the senators who've come here today. i realize we're under horrendous snow condition. i think it's up to half an inch now. i commented to somebody that, of course, senator klobuchar coming from minnesota or senator blumenthal, senator grassley, real snow -- i had a weather report at home that said -- we had a weather report to be expected dusting of snow no more than five or six inches. in other news today -- of course five or six inches down here, they would be interrupting a presidential press conference. senator grassley had one more question and then we'll wrap up. >> this won't take seven minutes. i didn't run over seven minutes
5:16 pm
like we had people run over three minutes. on the issue of bank for prosecution. i'm concerned that we have a mentality of too big to jail in the financial sector of sprinting from fraud cases to terrorist financing and money laundering cases and i cite hsbc. so i think we're on a slippery slope. so that's background for this question. i don't -- i don't have recollection of d.o.j. prosecuting any high-profile financial criminal convictions in either companies or individuals. assistant general, attorney general brewer said that one reason why d.o.j. has not brought these prosecutions is that it reaches out to quote-unquote experts to see what affect the prosecutions would have on the financial markets. so then on january 29, senator
5:17 pm
brown and i requested details on who the so-called experts are. so far we've not received any information. maybe you're going to, but why have we not been provided the names of the experts d.o.j. consults with -- as we requested on january 29? because we need to find out why we aren't having these high-profile cases. then i got one follow-up. maybe you can answer that quickly. >> your letter, senator, we did not, as i understand it, retain experts outside of the government in making determinations with regard to hsbc. if we can put that aside for a minute, though, the concern you raised is one that i frankly share. i'm not talking about hsbc now. that may not be appropriate. i am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does
5:18 pm
become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy, and i think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large. again, not talking about hsbc. this is a more general comment. i think it has an inhibiting influence, impact on our ability to bring resolutions that i think would be more appropriate. and i think that is something that we -- you all need to consider. so the concern that you raise is actually one that i share. >> well, then, do you believe that the investment of bankers who were repackaging and selling committing a criminal fraud, or is it a case of just not being
5:19 pm
aggressive and effective enough to actually have the information to prove that they did something fraudulent and criminal? >> we've looked at those kinds of cases, and i think we've been as appropriately aggressive. these are not easy cases necessarily to make. you sometimes look at these cases and you see that things were done wrong. and then the question is whether or not they were illegal. i think people in our criminal division, people in our attorney's office in the southern district of new york, for instance, have been i think as aggressive as they could be, brought cases where we think we could have brought them. i know that in some instances that has not been a saving answer to people, but we have, as i said, been as aggressive as i think we could have been. >> if you constitutionally jail a c.e.o. of a major corporation, you're going to send a pretty wide signal to stop a lot of activity that people think they can get away
5:20 pm
with. thank you very much. >> and you're absolutely right, senator. you know, the greatest turn is not by the prosecution of a corporation, although that's important. the greatest deter in effect is to prosecute the individuals in the corporation who are responsible for those decisions. we've done that in the u.b.s. matter that we brought about and we try to do that whenever we can. but the point you make is a good one. >> thank you. i again appreciate you being here. i'll probably see you at the signing of the leahy-crapo violence against women act. we had to leave out for procedural reasons the few visas that are important to law enforcement. and i hope you'll work with us as we do immigration reform. because that would complete the whole legislation. it would -- it would protect victims but also help law
5:21 pm
enforcement have a better chance of prosecuting people who have shown violence against women. >> yes. >> mr. chairman, thank you for your leadership on that. i just want to reiterate how important that is. >> you were there every step of the way. the fact that we were able to get such strong bipartisan help, and i know that the senator from minnesota talked a lot of -- to a lot of people on the other side of the aisle. it's nice to have senators do things together, both sides of the aisle, and the country stands better for it. we stand in recess. >> we the public have the right to know how many civilians have been killed in our name and where. we want to know where you're allowing signature strikes where we can kill people on the basis of suspicious activity only and what about secondary strikes that killed rescue workers? we just came back from pakistan.
5:22 pm
we met families who have lost their loved ones. innocent people. 176 children who've been killed with our drone strikes. how do you think that's legal? and what about a 16-year-old from denver, u.s. denver, killed in a drone strike? was he a high-level al qaeda operative or was it a mistake? if it's a mistake, who's going to pay for that mistake? attorney general holder, we have the right to get answers to that. we the public because you are doing the drone killings in our name. >> three out of four americans killed by mistake, you admitted, try out of four americans killed by mistake. >> is it true that this -- male killed by a drone strike, is the militant, is that true, mr. holder, as reported in "the new york times" on may 29, 2012? senator feinstein said she was unaware. >> count every military aide as
5:23 pm
a combatant? what would happen if another country tried to do that here in the united states? the precedent we are setting is for a world of chaos, a world of lawlessness. and because this hearing is over, we the public finally get to say something because during the hearing we cannot even raise our signs above our shoulders. a professional hearing but it's unprofessional -- >> thank you for coming. >> 4,700 people in countries where we are not at war. now is that a conventional program? >> we need to stop testifying, kill our drones. stop the fighting. killer drones strike. >> we are playing into the hands of extremists like al qaeda and we are opening new drone bases in places like saudi arabia that are just going to blow back against us. this program is a national security threat, and we are the
5:24 pm
citizens who are speaking up for our national security because our government is not doing anything to make us secure. in fact, you're making us more hated around the world which is going to mean more attacks against us. >> the targeted assassinations is not what this country stands for. this is an outrage against the way -- our way of life. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> trying to get some oversight in these hearings. it's time for the committee to do real oversight. if they don't have access to the public documents written by the attorney general's office, how are they supposed to do any kind of oversight? >> senator leahy said he was disappointed. why doesn't he issue a subpoena? >> no. and attorney general holder says the president wants more transparency. who is it that is above the president who is keeping these memos from the committees that
5:25 pm
are supposed to do oversight? is the c.i.a. more -- >> they proved that pressure works and not pressure doesn't work. for more than a year they asked for these memos and the administration didn't give them. then when they said they were going to hold up brennan's confirmation, the administration handed over the memos. senator leahy wants the memos, he has to issue a subpoena. >> we need the memos now. >> the public needs to see these memos. i want to know why after four years this administration that says it's going to be the most transparent administration hasn't given to the committees in the oversight the information they need. and we the public, we want to see these memos. and it's more than just the memos. we want to see how they're justifying the fact that they can kill not only americans but non-americans. what happened to 176 children who've been killed by these drone strikes?
5:26 pm
will we acknowledge those mistakes? will somebody be held accountable for those mistakes? and those mistakes will continue. and especially we want to know why the c.i.a. has the right to use lethal drones. the c.i.a. is not a military organization. it's a civilian organization. it shouldn't have the authority to use lethal weapons like drones. >> and i'd like to ask senator lindsey graham about this killing of americans sitting at a cafe which he seems to condone. senator graham now is a proponent for the assassined drones now killing american citizens, he says. so we have a lot to hold the congress accountable for. not doing things. not providing transparency. not shutting down the government to get after these memos. i mean, there are ways to go after getting the memos. >> senator feinstein said after
5:27 pm
the brennan hearing in "politico" saying she's unaware of the reports that the c.i.a. was counting military aged males as militants when they were killed by drone strikes. six months after this was reported by "the new york times" on may 29, 2012. six months. senator feinstein, chair of the senate intelligence committee, unaware of what was reported in "the new york times" that a major expo zeh on drone strikes -- expose on drone strikes. >> part of her responsibility. are we supposed to be the -- >> if you guys don't mind stepping in the hallway. >> just want to let you know, the hearing with attorney general eric holder, the judiciary committee hearing will lead off our primetime schedule here on c-span at 8:00 p.m. eastern. on c-span2, a group of bipartisan senators hold a
5:28 pm
briefing on new legislation proposed to reduce gun violence. and on c-span3, tim gray of "variety magazine "discusses violence in the entertainment industry. and tomorrow on "washington journal," texas congressman joaquin castro discusses his political and legislative goals as a freshman member of the 113th congress. also on tomorrow's "journal," the california representative tom mcclintock talks about automatic spending cuts. and federal spending for the rest of the fiscal year. the house passed a continuing resolution earlier today that funds the government until the end of september. also tomorrow, your emails, of course, phone calls and tweets, "washington journal" is live every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. senator ron paul, kentucky senator ron paul has been on the senate floor for nearly six
5:29 pm
hours. he's conducting a filibuster, opposing the nomination of john brennan to be the next director of the central intelligence agency. among the reasons that senator paul is holding the filibuster is he's questioning the president's authority to order targeted strikes against noncombatant u.s. citizens. he started the filibuster about 11:45 eastern this morning. here's what he had to say. to filibuster john brennan's nomination for the c.i.a. i will speak until i can no longer speak. i will speak as long as it tak takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no american should be killed by a drone on american soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to b guilty by a court.
5:30 pm
that americans could be killed in a cafe in san francisco or in a restaurant in houston or at their home in bowling green, kentucky, is an abomination. it is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country. i don't rise to oppose john brennan's nomination simply for the person. i rise today for the principle. the principle is one that as americans we have fought long and hard for and to give up on that principle, to give up on the bill of rights, to give up on the fifth amendment protection that says that no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted. this is a precious american >> senator rand paul of
5:31 pm
kentucky, still on the senate floor, going on six hours. earlier on the house floor they passed the continuing resolution, funding the federal government through the end of fiscal year 2013. the vote was 267-151. we talked to a capitol hill reporter for some background and a look at what's ahead with the bill. >> the house has passed a bill to keep the government operating past march 27. what are the bill's prospects in the senate? >> this bill is probably going to be rewritten substantially when it gets to the democratic controlled senate. the appropriations committee members were anxious to replace it completely with what they call an omnibus appropriations bill which would put all of the 12 appropriation bills for cabinet agencies and independent agencies into the bill. however, the senate leadership has decided that that is going to be too cumbersome and too
5:32 pm
complicated but they'll try to offer some of those bills and send it back to the house. the house republicans said today that they're open to negotiating redistribution of the spending cuts that are in this bill, but they are affirm in their statement that we cannot increase the top line number which is $982 billion is the spending rate for this current fiscal year. >> the bill that passed the house is a republican bill. how about senate republicans, how do they view this house measure that's coming to them? >> i think that the senate republicans would be just as happy to go along with this bill. there may be some spending priorities that they would join the democrats. in fact there are several bipartisan bills that came out of the senate appropriations committee. but i think that the democratic leadership has calculated that it would be very complicated, for instance, controversial for them to try to put certain aspects of the spending appropriation plan into effect
5:33 pm
and the republicans would block that. so there's going to be a usual dance in the senate where majority leader harry reid tries to find a bill with 60 votes -- will get 60 votes to pass the republican filibuster. >> how does this continuing resolution address that the cuts that are already in effect or went into effect with the sequester on march 1? >> they implement the sequester. they assume that the sequester has taken place. this bill was originally written at the spending level of $1.03 trillion. this is for defense and other discretionary domestic programs, not entitlements like medicare, medicaid and social security. and then there's a clause in it that says the sequester will take effect so it moves the level down to $982 billion. that prompted a lot of complaints on the floor from house democrats because it does
5:34 pm
nothing in their minds to stop the sequester which they say is onerous and a meat ax approach to cutting. >> well, the current short-term spending measures ends in three weeks, march 27. what's the process from here in the senate, what's the end game? >> the end game is to try to get a bill that will pass both houses. there may be some ping-pong, as we call it, in the capitol between the two chambers. the senate may pass something that isn't quite what the house wants and which case they would be able to -- they would try to pass something again that the senate would agree to. at the very minimum, the senate will try to get a bill that will clear a filibuster, send it back to the house and see if the house will take it. at that point there might actually be negotiations between the house and senate leadership to come up with something and both chambers could pass in time for the 27th. everybody is saying they don't want a shutdown. i think people are motivated to avoid that. >> well, lastly, what about the white house? what are the administration's
5:35 pm
priorities in this continuing resolution? >> they issued a statement of policy on this. the president said he would sign something if it was sent to them and this statement of policy notably did not have the boiler point language -- if this passes we would advise the president to veto it. they said they're very disappointed in the fact there are many things in the bill. behaving basically they don't like most cabinet agencies except for defense and veterans affairs departments are forced to deliver services and program initiatives at 2012 fiscal year levels. there's no increase in flexibility in terms of moving the money around. so they want to have that flexibility if they can get it. >> jim rowley, congressional correspondent for bloomberg news, thanks for the update. >> it's a pleasure. >> again, the continuing resolution passed the house earlier by a vote of 276-151.
5:36 pm
funding the federal government through the end of fiscal year 2013 at current sequestration levels. coming up next, we'll show you a portion of the debate from earlier today on the house floor. ore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rogers: i rise to present h.r. 933, the department of defense and military construction and veterans affairs appropriations and full year continuing resolution for fiscal year 2013. our nation faces a three-pronged threat to its finances. as we deal with sequestration, the debt ceiling, and most immediately, a looming government shutdown. this bill takes the risk of a government shutdown off the table. funding the government for the remainder of the fiscal year while helping maintain our national security and providing our troops and veterans with
5:37 pm
consistent, adequate funding. first and foremost, this bill contains fiscal year 2013 appropriations bills for the department of -- department offings defense an veterans affairs. these bills crafted by chairman bill young, chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, and very handily done, these bills passed the house with broad, bipartisan support last year, they've been negotiated on a bipartisan basis by the house and senate and agreed to by the senate committee. they do not add a cent to the overall top line of the c.r. and i want to take a minute here to thank bill young and his subcommittee who did such a tremendous job of balancing the interests of the country but with the overriding concern for the security of the country as
5:38 pm
they drafted and passed on a bipartisan basis the defense appropriations bill. la week, i had the opportunity to ask the joint chiefsf our military if they supported this c.r. package. and the answe was an absolute, whole-hearted yes. in fact, each one of them was asked if it was critical and each one of the joint chiefs said, this is critical. -- critical to the defense of the country. this leglation addresses seve funding constraints that would put our national security in dire straits. military hospitals would not be built, veterans would not be cared for adequately, and our readiness would be seriously
5:39 pm
jeopardized. with sequestration now in effe, this bill allows the pentagon some leeway to do it best with what it has. the bill provides $518 billion, the same top level -- top line level as last year. within this top line, accounts have to be reprioritized to ensure adequate investment in critical programs such as operation and maintenance while finding savings in lower priority areas. the legislation right sizes spending that would otherwise have been wasted. for instance, we eliminate funding for unneeded spare parts and save funding from outdated programs and projects related to operations in iraq. -- in iraq no longer needed.
5:40 pm
in addition, the bill provides $71.9 billion in discretionary funding for military construction and veterans affairs. to ensure that our veterans get the care they've earned and that the quality of life in our military is continued. this includes an increase of about $2.5 billion in veterans funding, offset by savings in mitaryonstruction. the remainder of the bill, mr. speaker, funds the rest of the federal government until the end of the fiscal year on septber 30. nearly all funding will remain consistent with current levels, except for the very few exceptions that are needed to prevent catastrophic changes to government programs or to ensure good government. these include provisions allowing critical law enforcement entities to maintain current staffing levels, additional funding for
5:41 pm
embassy security, and critical weather satellite launches and an extension of the currentay freeze for federal employees including members of the congress. we've also required every single federal agency to provide spending plans to congress to ensure transparency oversight of taxpayer dollars. nearly all the funding in this bill is subject to the president's sequestration bringing the grand total for discretionary spending to around $984 billion. the bill is designed to help with the damage caused by continually putting off the regular annual appropriations bills but it does not solve the many serious problems caused by these automatic spending cuts in sequestration.
5:42 pm
a full year continuing resolution is not the way this congress should be appropriating taxpayer dollars. each year, we should assess the needs and excesses of our government and make decisions accordingly in the regular appropriations process. we must return to regular order , pass individual spending bills on time and fulfill our constitutional duty to fund government programs wisely and effectively. to do all of this, we have to have a partner in the senate ande have not had that for these several years. our hope springs eternal that the senate will help us get back to regular order. in light of the circumstances we face, we must make a good faith effort to provide limit bud fair and adequate funding for vital government programs and services through the end of
5:43 pm
the fiscal year. it's up to congress to make these decisions to set the course for our financial future. we must act now to make the most of this difficult situation and that starts with avoiding a government shutdown on march 27 and providing for our national defense and our veterans. this c.r. package is the right thing to do, the right time to do it, and it's the fair thing. so i urge, mr. speaker, my colleagues, to show our nation that we can get our work done by supporting this bill. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky reserves. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. ms. low -- mrs. lowey: before us contains a defense bill and a military construction veterans affair bill adjusting the f.y. 2012
5:44 pm
funding levels to meet f.y. 2013 needs. it is unacceptable that federal agencies and departments covered by the 10 remaining bills would be forced to operate under full-year continuing resolutions based on plans, spending levels enacted 15 to 18 months ago. congress' failure to do our job and pass responsible annual spending bills lits our ability to respond to changing circumstances, implement other laws enacted by congress and eliminate funding that is no longer necessary. specifically, this bill will delay implementation of the affordable care act scheduled to begin enrolling participants
5:45 pm
in october. without i.t. infrastructure to process enrollment and payments, verify eligibility and establish call centers, health insurance for millions of americans would be further delayed. last year's levels will hamper enforcement of dodd-frank protections against improper practices in the financial sector. the bill underfunds head start, child care, essential for many working parents who would otherwise have to quit their jobs. the bill fails to strike outdated language allowing h.u.d. to use public housing agency reserves to fund operations or provide a requested increase to make up for the shortfall resuing in the lowest per unit operating subsidy since 2007 despite rising housing costs. the bill we consider today even
5:46 pm
denies increases for health care fraud and abuse control and social security disability reviews and s.s.i. eligibility determinations, both of which return more money to the treasury than they cost. and the continuing resolution excludes loan guarantees for jordan necessary to help an important ally stabilize his economy. the effects myolleagues, of these outdated plans and spending levs in the continuing resolution are compounded by congress' failure to replace sequestration with a balanced, responsible, long-term debt reduction plan. the congressional budget office estimates that sequestration would cut economic growth in
5:47 pm
2013y a third. that's jobs, that's people's lives. last year, our fragile economy struggled to create a total of $2 -- of 2.2 million jobs. c.b.o. says sequestration will wipe out, get rid of, 750,000 jobs, more than a third of all the jobs created last year. now i want to make it very clear, my colleagues, this bill reaffirms sequestration. the terrible impact of those indiscriminate cuts will begin to take effect. this summer, we can expect significant flight delays, long lines at airports due to furloughs and air traffic controllers, and a hiring freeze and reduced hours for transportation security officers.
5:48 pm
yesterday, the labor-hhs subcommittee heard testimony from the directors of the national institutes of health and c.d.c. on the detrimental effects these irresponsible cuts will have, include degree clining medical research. fewer child vaccinations, reduced protections against epidemics, just try and explain that to dear friends and neighbors who have children with autism. seniors who are dealing with alzheimer's. friends who have heart, cardiology issues. just try and explain what the nation institutes cuts in research will do in addition to the impact and research on these issues. these are real people who are going to be laid o and impede our future research. all americans rely on timely and accurate weather warnings and forecasts from the national
5:49 pm
weather service, reduced resources will compromise critical satellites, radar, computer analysis, and modeling. now i am pleased that two bills, the defense bill and the military construction and veterans bill, arehe f.y. 2013 bills that wereagreed on by the house and senate but my colleagues, let's not forget that sequestration will still strike our national defense even if this bill is enaed. another $46 billion will be subtracted from defense spending. most of the civilian work force will face significant furloughs, readiness will still face cuts, and defense health care will need to make some very tough choices with scarce resources. mr. speaker, i cannot
5:50 pm
mr. speaker, i cannot support this bill because it fails to take responsible steps to support the middle class and really -- in really tough economic times or responsibly address the long-term fiscal heth of our nation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentlelady from new york, mrs. lowey, reserve? the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman from kentucky is recognized. mr. rogers: i yield three minutes to the very distinguished and hardworking chairman of the house armed services committee the gentleman from california. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for three minutes. >> i thank the gentleman, the chairman of the appropriations committee, for yielding, and thank him for the great work he's done for getting this bill to the floor. likewise the chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee. they have done yeomen work to help provide for a national defense. mr. mckeon: i agree with much of what the gentlelady from new york, my good friend, said. sequestration is bad.
5:51 pm
and if we don't pass this c.r., we'll feel worse than the effects of the sequestration, we'll shut down the whole government. nobody wants to see that. and so i commend her for what she says. this is not perfect. but it keeps a lot of peopl working. i think it's very, very important that we get it done. as chairman of the house armed services committee, i'm happy to see us voting to include a full year appropriations -- defense appropriations bill, as well as full year milary conruction and veterans affair bill. this is very imrtant. at least we have one committee that can do regular order still, and i think that is very important. enacting a full year d.o.d. appropriations bill is the first step toward restoring funding for our military which has been whip sod by the dual combination of the sequester and the c.r. we are operating under.
5:52 pm
none of our currently serving overseas, the chief of the army, navy, air force, marines, including the chief of -- all of the svices, in their time have ever operated under a real budget. most of the members of congress haven't served uer regular order in seeing how we have really done. so this is a step forward to get us back to regular order. a full year appropriation will allow the service chiefs to cancel programs that we have already caeled in the defense authorization act. it allows them to restore critical shortfalls in their operation and maintenance accounts, and add baca certain amount of training and flying hours. this legislation does not by any members solve sequestration, but it gives our commanders much needed flexibility and gives us time to work on a house budget that restores funding for our
5:53 pm
military. let me give you just a couple of quk examples of why we need to pass this package and encourage the other body to return to regular order. because a straight c.r. still pipes fundingn certain accounts, the chief of staff of the army is looking at having to curtail 37,000 hours of flying for helicopter pilots at forerutger in alabama where our helicopter pilots go to be trained. that's about 500 to 750 pilots who will not be trained. units preparing now to deploy to afghanistan are not receiving the same training as those who are there now fighting. that is shameful. we need to restore those accounts. this puts those who are preparing to go at greater risk once they arrive in theater. a full year d.o.d. appropriatio which we'll be voting on today,
5:54 pm
the general will have the authority to restore a lot of those flying hours and critical training for those who are preparing to deploy. just another little example, admiral greener, chief of naval operations has said that if he had the funding that would come from the appropriations bill that we are voting on, he would have the flexibility to move money between accounts. and the navy would be able to keep a carrier strike group and amphibious ready group in the middle east and the pacific through next year. that is crucial to our national security. i would encourage all of our colleagues to support this bill. it's not the perfect but it takes us a long step toward helping secure our national security. i thank the chairman and the chairman of the subcommittee for their great work, yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
5:55 pm
gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from kentucky reserves. the gentlelady from new york is recognized. mrs. lowey: mr. mckeon, i just want to emphasize again that the general and the recent appropriations hearing on the defense bill testified that sequester would be a disaster for the military, and it's unfortunate that we are not ridding ourselves of the prospect of the disaster that the sequester bill will result in. i'm delighted to yield two minutes to my distinguished leader, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: members are reminded to address their comments to the chair and not to other members of the house. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. hoyer: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: witho objection. mr. hoyer: i agree with the gentlelady who has just spoken. i want to say to my friend, mr. mckeon, this is neither regular order nor rational policy. it ought to be rejected.
5:56 pm
this c.r. does nothing to address the irrational cuts to dense and nondefense that the sequester will require. it could be very harmful to our economy and to our national security and place the most vulnerable in america at great risk. we should not allow, my colleagues, our government to shut down. but we cannot do business this way. lurching from one manufactured crisis to the next. when we make agreements, we ought to stick to them. and the agreement was, as the chairman has tried to put forward, and i want to congratulate him for that, that we would spend on the discretionary side of the budget at about $1.43 trillion. that is not what this bill cost. -- does. it breaks the deal. nobody expected sequester to take place. and we ought to obviate it
5:57 pm
cause it will hurt defense, our national security, and our domestic security. mr. speaker, we made an agreement. we ought to keep it. that's not what we have in this c.r. while the defense funding in this package is something i would like to vote for, and the procedures incorporated in the bill i would like to vote for -- let me say as an aside, that is regular order. because when we usually pass c.r.'s, we do it for house passed bills levels, senate passed bill levels, conference levels, but not at a level a year ago. the reason they amended defense and veterans and milcon is because it is irrational and they recognize it's irrational as it relates to the national security. you ought to recognize the irrationalness of the rest of the budget. i ask for another minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for a minute. mr. hoyer: while defense funding
5:58 pm
in this package is something i would like to vote for, it would continue to support the critical national security programs, important in my district but more important than that, important in our country. if congress face to face every manner of manufactured crisis every other month, we cannot govern rationally and it will hurt our people, our economy, and our security. when dysfunctionusts the wheels of congress, it is the american people who suffer. our defense community and the industries will also suffer greatly from the uncertainty that result. i want to vote for appropriation bills that keep the promise we made to each other. i want to vote for appropriations bills that enable us to limit the negative impact of sequestration on our defense community and the most vulnerable in our society, but this c.r. does not do that. this vote will do nothing to lessen the effects of the see quester whose impact is already being felt -- sequester whose impact slr being felt in my district and throughout the
5:59 pm
country. that is what tells me to vote no on this c.r. i represent 62,000 federal employees, do not want this government to shut down. that is an irrational policy even in see questions her. -- sequester. may i have additional 30 seconds. it demands we vote no on this and pass a c.r. that object veeates sequesr. i urge my colleagues to defeat this c.r. so we can send a message to those who control this chamber that we have a responsibility to our country and to our people to adopt a balanced fiscal plan to reduce our debt and deficit, invest in the growth of the onomy. that is not what this bill does. >> and the continuing resolution passed on the vote of 267-151. it now goes to the u.s. senate. over on the senate side today on capitol hill, the senator
6:00 pm
from kentucky, rand paul, continues with his filibuster of the nomination of john brennan for c.i.a. director. he's been at it for six hours now. you can follow that on c-span2. also, a number of senators won't be there. a dozen of senators are having a dinner with president obama. the president inviting senator lindsey graham to ask a number of senators to dinner this evening in the nation's capitol, not at the white house. the associated press the president is aimed at jump-starting budget talks and his proposals on immigration and gun control. senator graham was asked about the dinner invitation this afternoon. . >> the one quick statement about the dinner that was supposed to be quiet and nobody knew about it. just ask yourself this, you've been in this business, most of you, you know, a while. it's sad that it makes news. if ronald rage-dinner with members of the senate or bill clinton,s i don't think anybody
6:01 pm
-- you'd have a hard time getting your editors to report. it the fact that there is a lot of interest in a dinner between the president and a handful of republican senators is a pretty good statement about where we're at as a nation. i'm not blaming anybody. because it takes both parties to get $16 trillion in debt. it's going to take both parties to get out. the president called senator mccain and myself a couple of weeks ago and senator mccain was his opponent, as you all know, in 2008. i see the president reaching out, everybody wants to, you know, be dr. phil about what he's doing. i'm assuming the president wants to talk seriously about the issues of the day. and if he just wants to have a dinner so we can get to know each other better, that's fine with me. so, how do you say no to the president of the united states who would like to have dinner with some of your colleagues? you don't.
6:02 pm
and anybody who would do that in this business is in the wrong position. so when the president asks i get together a group, i willingly and i was honored to try to do that. where this goes i don't know. i do believe what the president has been doing lately, getting off the campaign trail, back into the normal way of doing business up here of talking to each other, i can't think of any major accomplishment in america in the private or public sector where no one ever talked to each other. so i want to compliment the president for reaching out. i think he's doing the right thing. we need to stop the campaign, the election is over. but i do know where the country's going. if we don't fix entitlements they're going to consume all the money we send to washington in the future and medicare and social security are going to collapse. and i think the president knows that also. i have publicly said that i'm willing to do more revenue if we can really bend the entitlement curve. i'm just speaking for myself.
6:03 pm
there are other senators who will be giving their views to the president tonight. they will probably try to talk sense into him and he'll try to talk sense into us. i'm encouraged by the president's outreach. i hope it bears fruit. but i know this, if we never talk to each other i know exactly what's going to happen. this country's going to fail. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> all that have briefing tonight on our companion network. here's what it looks like across the c-span networks. tonight at 8:00 ear on c-span, eric holder testifies before the senate judiciary committee on oversight issues at justice department. then on c-span 2, a group of bipartisan senators with senator graham there briefing on new legislation to reduce gun violence. and on c-span 3, tim gray of "variety" magazine discusses violence in the entertainment industry, all that have getting under way at 8:00 p.m. eastern. and tomorrow on "washington journal," texas congressman
6:04 pm
castro discusses his political and legislative goals as a freshman member of the 113th congress. after that california representative tom mcclintock talks about the automatic spending cuts. and the federal spending the c.r. passed just today. the house passed that resolution by a vote of 267-151. plus tomorrow your phone calls, emails and tweets on "washington journal" live beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. and next up from london. british prime minister's questions. david cameron spoke about bonuses for bankers. no, next up, william hague from london. statement, the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs. "money rocks" "money rocks". >> secretary william hayes. >> mr. speaker, with permission i'll make a statement on the crisis in syria. the time has come to announce to
6:05 pm
the house necessary developments in our policy and our readiness to develop it further if the bloodshed continues. two years afr it gans -- began, 10,000 people have died since i last updated the house in early january. that means more people have died in the first two months of this year than in the whole of the first year of the conflict. the total estimated death toll is now over 70,000 people. the regime has used scud ballistic missiles against civilian areas and there's evidence of grave human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity including massacres, torture, summary executions and a systematic policy of rape and sexual violence by the regime forces and its militia. a year ago one million people needed humanitarian aid inside syria. that figure is now up to four million people out of a total population of 21 million.
6:06 pm
40,000 people are fleeing syria each week, three-quarters of them women and children. the number of refugees have increased thirtyfold over the last ten months, and today the sad milestone of one million refugees has been reached. the population of lebanon which i visited two weeks ago has risen by 10% from the influx of destitute people. this is a desperate situaon of increasingly extreme humanitarian suffering. there is no sign that the assad regime currently intends to enter into a genuine political process. they appear to believe they can defeat their opponents militarily, and they count on being shielded by some countries at the united nations security council. it will be necessary to turn each of these calculations on its head if the conflict is to come to a peaceful end. securing a diplomatic breakthrough remains, of course,
6:07 pm
our objective. last week i discussed it with john kerry here in lndon and other close partners with the friends of the syrian people in rome. in rome i also met the syrian national coalition's president and welcomed his brave announcement that the national coalition is open to direct talks with members of the assad regime. we continue our efforts to develop common ground with russia. i will have talked with the russian foreign minister later this afternoon and next week also here in london. and at the end of january, the u.n. a arab league special representative for syria set out a credible plan for the establishment of a transitional authority in syria. we're working with allies to achieve, if at all possible, security council backing for a transition process, and i'm meeting mr. bra brahimi again ao this afternoon. the fact is diplomacy is taking far too long, and the prospect of an mealed breakthrough is --
6:08 pm
an immediate breakthrough is slim. lance armstronger number of refugees and confrontation. the international community cannot stand still in the face of this reality. our policy has to move towards more active efforts to prevent the loss of life in syria, and this means stepping up our support to the opposition and thereby increasing the pressure on the regime to acct a political solution. what we face is not a chce between diplomacy on the one hand and practical assistance on the other. helping the opposition is crucial to bringing about a political transition and saving lives, and both must be pursued together. we will always be careful in how we develop our policy, but our readiness to develop it further should be unmistakeable, particularly for the as 15d regime -- assad regime. what happens in syria is vital to our national interests for three reasons. the firs is the growth of extremism. the vast majority of people opposing the regime are ordinary
6:09 pm
people trying to defen their commitments and gain freedom for their country, but syria today has become the top destination for jihadists anywhere in the world, and we're already seeing a rise in sectarian violence and attacks using car bombs. we cannot allow syria to become another breeding ground for terrorists who pose a threat to our national security. second, the crisis is undermining the peace of the region. there have been reports of clashes on the iraqi border and in lebanon. we are increasingly concerned about th rege's readiness to use chemical weapons. we have warned the assad regime that the use of chemical weapons would lead to a serious response from the iernational community. those who order the use and who use chemical weons will be held to account. there's also credible information that iran is providing considerable military support to the regime true its revolutionary guard corps including personnel, weapons and
6:10 pm
direct financi assistance. third, we and our allies must always be prepared to respond to situations of extreme humanitarian distress. our foreign policy is inseparable from supporting internional law. we must assist the genuine, moderate and democratic forces in syria who are in dire need of help and who feel abandoned by the international community. the longer this conflict goes on, the more human suffering, persecution of minorities, radicalization and sectarian conflict there will be. despite these three compelling arguments, there will still be those who say britain should have nothing to do with syria. but we cannot look the other way while human rights are flouted, and it wod be height of irresponsibility to ignore potential threat to our own security. so i want to explain to the house today the next step in increasing our support to the
6:11 pm
syrian people, and i emphasize there may well have to be further steps. we have contributed nearly 140 million pounds in humanitarian aid so far. this is funding foot, clean drinking water, medical stabs, blankets and shelter for many tens of thousands of people. we're supporting the syrian national coalition's ownfforts to deliver aid inside syria, and we will seek new ways to expand access for aid across the country while preparing to help a future government deal with the aftermatof the conflict. we've also committed a total of 9.4 million pounds so far in nonlethal support to the syrian op suggestion, civil society and human rights defenders. we've trained more than 300 syrian journalists and activists, and we're providing satellite communication devices to document human rights violences and abuses. i informed the house in january that we would seek to amend the european union sanctions on
6:12 pm
syria to open up the possibility of further assistance if the situation deteriorated. on thursday we finalized with our european partners a specific exemption to the e.u. sanctions to permit the provision of nonlethal military equipment and all forms of technical assistance to the syrian national coalition where it is spended for the approximate of civilians -- intended for the protection of civilians. this is important no our ability to help -- in our ability to help save lives. it can include advice and training on how to maintain security in areas no longer controlled by the regime, on coordination between civilian and military councils, on how to protect civilians and minimize the risks to them and how to maintain security during a transition. we will now provide such assistance, advice and training. we intend to respond to the opposition's request to provide equipment for search and rescue operations and incinerators and collection kits to event the spread of disease.
6:13 pm
we will help local councils to repair ectricity and water supplies to homes, and we will also respond to the opposition's request for further water purification kits and equipment to help civilian political leaders operate and communicate. we will also now provide new types of nonlethal equipment for the protection of civilians goinbeyond what we have given before. in conjunction withhe national coalition, we are identiing the protective equipment which will be of most assistance to them and likely to save most lives. i will keep the house updated, but it will certainly include, for instance, armored four-wheel drive vehicles to help opposition figures move around more freely as well as personal protection uipment including body armor. we will be able to provide testing equipment to the opposition to enable evidence gathering in the hrific event of chemical weapons use, and we will also fund training to help armed groups understand their
6:14 pm
responsibilities and obligations under international law and international human rights standards. any human rights violations or abuses are unacceptable on all sides. we've allocated nearly three million pounds in something this month to support this work and an additional ten million pounds thereafter comprising $20 million in nonlethal equipment and practical support to the syrian op is decision and civilian -- opposition and civilian society. and we hope other countries will offer similar assistance. the cabinet is in no doubt that this is a necessary, proportionate and lawful response to a situation of extreme humanitarian suffering, and though there is no practicable alternative. all our systems will be carefully calibrated and monitored as well as legal and will be aimed at alleviating the human catastrophe and supporting moderate groups. the process in this way was difficult, and the decision came down to the wire. we persisted with it because we
6:15 pm
believe it is preferable to have a united e.u. approach. in our view if a solution is not found and the conflict continues, we and the rest of the european union will have to be ready to move further, and we should not rule out any option for saving lives. in case further necessary amendments to the sanctions regime prove impossible to agree, we stand ready to take any domestic measures necessary to insure that core sanctions on syria remain effective. this is a situation in syria where extreme humanitarian distress and growing dangers to international peace a security must weigh increasingly heavy in the balance against other risks. with this crisis now becoming one of major dimensions with any standard with millions of people on the move and tens of of thousands dead, tens of thousands more in daily danger of losing their lives, the world's most volatile region and growing tension and political deadlock endured for two years, our policy cannot be static, nor
6:16 pm
our position indifferent. the situation of growing gravity requires a steadily more active approach. learning the lessons of previous conflicts d always emphasizing the need for a political and diplomatic result of the crisis but also being prepared to use increased pressure to try to bring this about. we will continue to keep the house properly informed as we press for an end to the conflict, provide life-saving assistance and work to insure that syria has the political transition which people deserve. >> [inaudible] alexander. >> thank you, mr. speaker. can i thank the foreign secretary for his statement and, indeed -- [inaudible] this month marks the second anniversary of the start of this brutal on flick. two years on, as the foreign secretary has rightly pointed out, the death toll is now
6:17 pm
estimated at some 07,000 and is rising -- 70,000 and is rising by the day. only today the united nations announced that the number of civilian refugees has now reached one million. half of these refugees are children. more than 400,000 since the first of january, 2013, alone. and more than,000 are reported to be fleeing every day. the united nations tay declared that syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster. so, mr. speaker, as the number of casualties rise, frustrations too have been growing, and this frustration has understandably led to renewed calls to the international community to do more. the primary responsibility for this crisis rests with assad and his regime. but, mr. speaker, does the foreign secretary accept that the deteriorating situation in syria also represents an abject failure on behalf of the international community and they share a collective
6:18 pm
responsibility for that? it is right that efforts must now intensify, but the key issue is the breadth of these efforts, how these efforts are channeled and how likely they are to deliver results? first, mr. speaker, on international diplomatic efforts, the stalemate at the united nations security council is more than just frustrating, it is deplorable. the case must be made to russia and china that supporting or aiding assad not only harms syria, but harms their own interests and, indeed, standing within the wider region. the canhe foreign secretary or se out what recommendations he will make in london next week specifically on the prospects and the changes in the security council? separately on sanctions, the issue at present is not necessarily about new sanctions,
6:19 pm
but effective enforcement of existing sanctions. given his recent visit, does the foreign secretary agree with me that more must be done to insure that countries fully comply with the existing sanctions to which they have already signed up? third, on the issue of international accountability, the responsibility for the crisis as i made clear primarily rests with the assad regime, and the perpetrators must ultimately be held to account. does the foreign secretary agree that efforts to publish the name of syrian officers ordering the ongoing atrocities are vital as they could serve as a clear signal of spent that they will face -- of intent that they will face justice for their crimes and, of course, that includes the use of chemical weapons. fourth, on the issue of peace talks, the leader of the syrian national coalition, last month reportedly offered to engage in talks on a political settlement without demanding assad's resignation. in his comments in the interview
6:20 pm
given last week by assad, assad claimed he was ready to negotiate with anyone, including militants who surrender their arms. neither of offers have yet been accepted, nor can we make a judgment as to the spirit with which they were intended, but can the foreign secretary offer his assessment of whether or not they constitute t a slight narrowing between the gap of the syrian authorities and opposition forces? finally, mr.peaker, let me turn to the central issue of the u.k. support for the syrian opposition a the announcement and the statement made today. it is right that the u.k. is at the forefront of coordinating internatnal efforts to deliver aid to those most in need both with within and beyond the syrian borders, and i welcome announcements to that effect. when it comes the our support for the syrian opposition forces, it is vital that all of our support must continue to be targeted and accountable if it's to be effective. so, mr. speaker, the foreign secretary has today said the government will mve towards,
6:21 pm
and i quote directly, more active efforts to prevent the loss of life in syria. it is right that the international community must increase their efforts, b it is vital that the parameters of these efforts are clearly set out, defined and uderstood. indeed, on this issue the foreign secretary's statement at times raised more questions than answers as to the real direction he is suggesting for british government policy. the foreign secretary has today spoken of the amendments made to the e.u. arms embargo. i welcome the fct that these changes were agreed at the e.u. foreign affairs council. those amendments were focused on insuring that the right the to known lethal equipment could be delivered to opposition forces. but, mr. speaker, the work of the foreign office minister in the house on monday seemed to add some confusion to an already complex issue. when addressing the house on monday, the minister said, and i quote directly, this is not about lifting any arms embargo. mr. speaker, he then went on to
6:22 pm
say about the recent amendments to the existing e.u. arms embargo that it was about insuring that all options are on the table and that e.u. countries have maximum flexibility the to provide the opposition with all necessary assistance to protect civilians. mr. speaker, i think given these statements it is understandable that there is currently some confusion over the government's position that requires further clarification. so can the foreign secretary today say some more about the next steps that he anticipated in his statement? can he confirm whether or not the government will be pushing for an e.u. arms embargo to be lifted in and can he also set out what, if any, further amendments to the embargo he will be calling for? the foreign secretary has committed that when it comes to lifting therms embargo, that the risks of arms falling into the wrong hands is one of the reasons we don't do it now. we agree with him that the risk of this is, indeed, very
6:23 pm
serious. so can he, therefore, set out to the house what wouldave to change on the ground in syria for him to change his view as to the relative risks involved in such a strategy? does he accept the reality is that today syria is replete with arms and will he accept the very great difficulties involved in guaranteeing the end use of weapons given the lack of clarity today about the identity, the intent and, indeed, the tacticsf some of the rebel forces? does he accept that it is possible that if europe or indeed the west more generally were to decide to arm the rebels, that russia or, indeed, iran as he reference inside his remarks would simply increase their provision of arms to the assad regime? rather than pushing for the emrgo to be to be relaxed, amended or lufted altogether, can he ask him to direct his forts towards getting the russians and chinese to get an arms embargo? the most effec thive way of
6:24 pm
cutting off a key lifeline to the regime. somewhat curiously, the foreign secretary having previously mentioned the fact that al-qaeda are known to be operating in syria was silent in his remarks today. in light of increased u.k. support for the opposition forces, can the foreign secretary set out what is the british government assessment of the present level of this activity by al-qaeda and related jihad u.s. groups in syria? the can he give any assunces about the degree of authority and control exercised by the fnc over the wide range of opposition forces operating on the ground? the foreign -- >> i'm mildly alarmed by my sightf a further full page of text from the right honorable gentleman, but i know he'll put my mind at rest when he tells me he's not trying to deal with it. >> i will endeavor to keep my
6:25 pm
remarks as short as possible. i would simply say i indicated when listening to the feign secretary's statements, it had begged more questions than answers, but i'm mindful, so let me conclude with following remarks. i understand frustrations are growing, but a strategy borne of frustration is less likely to deliver than one based on strategic insight. surely the priority now for britain should be to work to unipie t -- unify the syrian opposition. syria needs to see a deescalation and a political resolution. while the government has our pport for its action toss provide humanitarian and nonlethal assistance to syria announced today, it is far from clear that taking steps to intensify this conflict in the months ahead would do anything to reduce the present level of violence being suffered by the syrian people. >> mr. speaker, the right honorable gentleman correctly
6:26 pm
draws attention, as i have done, to the extent of the human suffering. and the fact that the united naons has launched the largest ever appeal in financial terms for humanitarian terms just underlines the catastrophic scale of that suffering, and we must all remember in our remarks that that is the background to this, and that is the background for decidi what we have to do in that situation. um, he recommended something towards the end of his statement, some of which we have done such as work to unify the syrian opposition. of course, that's what we've done for many months, and they have been unified. and to the extent that that n be practical aclvein the national coalition, that is the group we have recognized as the legitimate representatives of the syrian people. they may not be, i don't suppose any opposition or any political grouping wl be perfect in our eyes in this country or any other country, but i don't believe that there will be a better attempt or a greater
6:27 pm
success at unifying the syrian opposition than the national coalition. m some other things that he was recommending i have to say would be wonderful if they could be achieved such as russian and chinese agreement to impose an arms embargo of the whole world on syria. of course, we would support that. but i have to say and, of course, we will go over all this ground with the russians again at the meetings that i've said will take place ts afternoon and next week, there is no prospect that i've seen of russia agreeing to such arms embargo. and so it's a good thing to wish for, but in pctical, diplomat terms there is no possibility at the moment of that being achieved. and that is the background to the decisions that we have to take. there are many things that would bear preferable that an immediate agreement would be reacd straight away on a negotiated political transition
6:28 pm
in syria, and, of course, he asks quite rightly about the how serious we should take the offers to negotiate. and i certainly believe having talked to the president of the national coalition last week that his offer not only is very sincere, he would love it to be taken up. and that he really means that he will negotiate with members of the regime. without firing systems on the departure of assad. but the insistence by president assad such as in this weekend interview, theregime is ready to negotiate is something we've heard for two years and has never turned into actual substance. of course, we will discuss with mr. brahimi again this afternoon whether those statements can be used to bring both sides closer together. that's part of his job to try to do that. and, but the evidence over the last two years is that in current circumstances offers to
6:29 pm
negotiate by the regime are not sip sere and are not followed up and do not lead to the sort of progress we all want to see. and so it is against that background of the diplomatic deadlock, the political stalemate while tens of thousands of people die that i argue that we have to do what we can. yes, in a very cautious and considered way and a very clearly thought out way to try to change that situation and to try to save human lives. as best we can working, of course, at all times with our part nevers and our ally -- partners and our allies unincluding in the arab world. and there is a meeting of the foreign ministers of the arab league today. and we will continue to use every diplomatic effort. but this is the situation i've described and that he has described is not one in which our policy can remain static. he's quite right to say that the international community has been
6:30 pm
an abject failure collectively. the united nations security council has not shouldered its responsibilities. and we've tried many times to put that right. our resolutions have been vetoed, and we have been working in the last month since mr. brahimi's last briefing to the council to find a new common way forward in the security council. again, we will discuss this with the russians in the coming hours, but this has not emerged in a month of discussions behi the scenes in new york. so we all have to ask ourself toes given that sittion, are we going to hold our policy completely static, or are we going to show we are prepared to change as the situation deteriorates? reluctantly, perhaps. cautiously, at all times. and i target we must be prepared to show that increased level of support for the opposition and that it has to take practical form if we're to exert any pressure on the regime and, indeed, on russia as well to
6:31 pm
successfully negotiate about this. and the parameters of what we're talking about are, i hope, clearly set out in the statement i've given because they are set out clearly in the amendment to th e.u. arms embargo. it is amended, not lifted. the arms embargo remains in place. these are specific exemptions for nonlethal military equipment and for technical assistance for the protection of civilians, and i've just given some examples in my statement of what that means in practice. as to the future, the e.u. nctions have now been rolled over with that amendment for three months, and so there will be a further discussion in may about the renewal of such sanctions. and the government will form then, e house will be able to form its view, every honorable member will be able to form their view of what we should do in whatever decision we have arrived at in may about further amendments if they are necessary to the embargo. so i think the parameters are
6:32 pm
clear, the policy is clear, and what i want to make clear today is its direction is clear which is we must be prepared to do more in a situation of such slaughter and of such suffering and that a policy, a more static policy would not measure up to the depravity of this situation -- the depravity of this situation. >> [inaudible] >> i regret to say that i cannot see how any of them will have any serious prospect of reducing the length of this conflict and preventing the massacre of tens of thousands of more syrians. will the foreign secretary accept th until such time as the syrian opposition have the military equipment that will enablehem to defeat the assad reme and thereby bring the conflict to an end earlier than would otherwise be the case, we will see a continuation of tens
6:33 pm
of thousands of people being killed, and the extremists in the opposition will benefit from that delay? what would the foreign secretary have to be persuaded of to accept that military support to the opposition in a controlled and responsible way is, indeed, necessary? >> well, i think what in fact, most of the house would have to be persuaded of is that there was absolutely no alternative remaining. and my right honorable friend s put the case, put the case for a long time, actually, for us to go much further than i have said today, for the actual arming of the opposition movements in syria by western countries. um, the difficulties of that are once that the right honorable gentleman, the shadow foreign secretary referred to, and also, of course, we have to recognize that the conflict is already
6:34 pm
militarized in syria. opposition groups do have access to substantial quantities of weons, and those weapons are already reaching, are already there inside syria. there is such a flow of weapons. so i think it is right for the development of our policy to be graduated, for us to show our readiness to deliver increased assistance, the willingness of european countries and the united states to amend our policy as the, if the situation continues the deteriorate. but we have to do that in a way that commands general support, and we have to do it in a way that poses the least danger to the increased militarization of the conflict, and that' why i think this is the right balance to strike rather than to move to the position my right honorable friend has consistently advocated. >> mr. jack straw. >> thank you, mr. speaker. would the foreign secretary say
6:35 pm
that a fair summary of the position we've reached is that we are now providing or every kind of assistance to the military forces of the opposition short of explosives, gu and bullets that actually do the killing? and i have no objections to that. i think it's essential. but would he also acknowledge that in my judgment he's right not to rule out the option of direct lethal military supplies, the strategic, diplomatic consequences of any such decision and the degre to which we could, frankly, get bogged down in a kind of cold war, proxy war many that situation really needs to be thought through very carefully, indeed, before you make a positive decision? >> yes, i very much agree with the right honorable gentleman. he accurately characterizes the position, although perhaps putting it too strongly to say
6:36 pm
we're providing every kind of assistance short of heath -- lethal. we'll provide assistance of that nature that is for the protection of civilians, and that is an important requirement, and we will absolutely, we will interpret that exactly. it has to be for the protection of civilians. so he went a bit too far in his characterizati to have the position. but he is right, of course, and for the reasons i was just speaking about a moment ago it would be a further, and it would be a bigger stance to say we are sending lethal equipment. and we have taken no decision to do that, and we have no current plan to do that. but it is necessary, of course, to be clear that in a situation of this gravity and of this, of the possible implications of the peace of the whole region we can't rule out options. we can't definitively rule it out, and that was the thrust of his question. >> [inaudible]
6:37 pm
campbell. >> my right honorable friend gives a compelling analysis of the deteriorating situation in syria, and the measures he announced should be not only accepted, should be welcomed by the house so far as they're designed to alleviate suffering and loss of life. but as we approach the tenth anniversary of the mistaken military action against saddam hussein, does he understand that there are many of us in the house or who are concerned lest we might drift towards something that could be described as military intervention? >> well, i'm grateful to my right honorable friend for the measures that i've announced to be welcomed by the house, and, of course, welcome that support. and, yes, i absolutely understand that after more than a decade of conflict in different ways people are always anxious about new conflict. that doesn't mean, however, we can stick our heads in the sand, that we can ignore new conflicts that have risen in the world
6:38 pm
that can affect us for all the reasons i have described. it does mean that our response to them has to be very intelligent, has to be very well calculated. and i think we can say quite clearl on, answering the art of his question, there's no western government that's advocating military intervention, military intervention of the western nation or of any nations into the conflict in syria. the discussion is entirely focused on the degree of assistance that cannons should be delivered to the opposition inside syria. that's what the discussion is centered on rather than on an external military intervention. >> [inaudible] >> mr. speaker, will he accept that the logical next step of the strategy which he's been pursuing now for over six monthsnot more is to arm -- months if not more is to arm the opsition? and i thk it's profoundly
6:39 pm
mistaken. he's eloquently condemned and carried the whole house every time he's made a statement these last six months, the horror, the par barety of the assad regime. just going for regime change in what is a civil war with a shia/sunni conflict there, a reincarnation of the cold war as well is not going to ever achieve its objective. what he should be doing is instead of just promoting the opposition's call for negotiations, you should actually test assad's willingness to negotie pressed over the weekend, test it to destruction. and he's not doing that. he's pursuing a failed strategy, a monumental failure of diplomacy, and it's making the situation worse. >> here, here. >> well, the right honorable gentleman doesn't really help his case in the way that he describes e government's position. and, of course, it very much follows from what i've been saying in answer to the shadow foreign secretar that we
6:40 pm
believe the apparent offer to negotiate by president assad must be it'sed, absolutely. so we will certainty do that, and the right honorable gentleman and i will agree strongly on that. you would have to think if he was of in government today that if that doesn't work and over the last two years it hasn't worked, then what else do we do? and -- well, he says from a sedentary position it hasn't been tried, it's been tried countless times. kofi annan went to damascus countless times. every possibility has been given to the regime to negotiate, and they have never entered into a sip sere or meaningful -- sincere or meaningfu situation. that being the case, it is not adequate to watch slaughter on this scale and say we will stick our heads in the sand about it. it is important to have a foreign policy that relieves humanitarian suffering and uplds human rights.
6:41 pm
and i would have thought that was something the right honorable gentleman would always have been in favor of. >> mr. richard ottoway. >> the foreign secretary's position in not supplying weapons to the rebels, it is perfectly clear that someone is supplyin weapons to the rebels at present, and isn't the -- [inaudible] will e up fighting against a shia-backed militants backed by iran, lebanon and iraq sometime in the future? >> um, well, of course the increased sectarian nature of the conflict is one of our great concerns. that is the reason why we have to do everything we can to, everything we can reasonably do to shorten the conflict. because that wll only get worse as this goes on. the conflict in syria is already militarized, as my honorable friend says, weapons are being obtained by all the factions fighting in syria including by
6:42 pm
the military council working with the national coalition. but i feel the longer it goes on, the more it will have a sectarian nature, and the more there will be opportunities for extremists to take hold and, therore, giving our assistance to moderate forces forces and no extremist forces is one of the ways in which we can try to shape this situation in a more sensible direction. >> [inaudible] >> what consideration, if any, is being given to the possibility of implementing a no-fly zone? >> well, a no-fly zone is sometimes advocated, including at international meetings. but i think the greatest difficulty with a no-fly zone is that, of course, it is a response of a totally different nature. it is a military intervention. it is what we have been talking about and many honorable members have been warning against. it would require military force externally on a very substantial scale.
6:43 pm
now, a good argument of principle can be made for that and of relieving humanitarian suffering by doing whatever is necessary. but the willingness of nations around the world to implement such a military intervention is limited for understandable reasons and, indeed, such a no-fly zone, i think, could only in practice be done with the full participation of the united states of america. and so there are major practical difficulties in doing it. what we must not get into is saying that there are protected areas, that there are manitarian corridors and then not being able to protect people. there is a sad and tragic history of those things, and so we should only take the step the honorable lady is talking about if the world, the international community was truly ready to bring that about. >> [inaudible] >> thank you very much, mr. speaker.
6:44 pm
my right honorable friend, mr. speaker, is quite right when he says tt syria is being shielded by some countries in the united nations, not least, of course, we know that russia had the opportunity to bring about so sanctions early on in the ited nations security council. could i ask my right honorable friend to start talking to his counterparts in the european union and, indeed, in the united states to actually try and say to the russians if you don't want to take part of this, you get on the ground, you do this. and if the russians refuse to take that course of action, are willing to stand by and let tens of thousands of people to be slaughtererred, then we should work with our european partners and the u.s. and say we're not going to come to your country to showcase your country in the world cup in 2016. 2020, sorry. >> right. my honorable friend, we must put every, use every art of persuasion we know in our talks with our colleagues in russia.
6:45 pm
and i can assure him that we do that. the shadow foreign secretary argued that we must put the case to russia about the growth of extremism in syria and so on. and we do. i have lost count of the number of occasions that i and other western ministers have put the case to our russian counterparts that everything russia most fears in syria is more likely to come true the longer the conflict goes on, including the rise of international terrorism and instability in the whole region. they, clearly, have a different analysis. we hav't had any meeting of minds on that. i'm not a great fan of sporting sanctions, i have to say, and as a country that just hosted to olympics, we have aood, well-established position on that, but we will use every other art of persuasion in dealing with russia. >> mr. nigel dobbs. >> the assad regime is clearly
6:46 pm
barbarous -- [inaudible] but does the foreign secretary understand the concerns of many of our constituents who read issues about atrocities and war crimes of the rule of al-qaeda and who express concerns about support and help that will be going for good and pror reasons that have been set out in good faith and helping people who are deeply hostile to stern interests and also equally glty of some terrible crimes against humanity? >> yes, of course. people are right to be concerned about any atrocities or any opportunity for international terrorism of to take hold in a new place. now, that's one of the reasons why we with cannot just turn away from this crisis. but it's also why, and this is another of his questions, the assistance we give must be very refully thought out and monitored. and, of course, the all the assistance i have talk about, all the equipment i've talked about is nonlethal.
6:47 pm
we monitor to the best of our ability its use, and if it was misused or fell into the hands of groups we did not intend it for, that would have a serious impact on our willingness to provide such further assistance in the future. but i do want to stress that while people, of course, read about and we are concerned about in the way i've described the opportunity for extreme to take -- extremists to take hold, the great majority of the people who are involved even in the fighting in syria from what we can see and tell and certainly the opposition leaders that i meet are people who sincerely want a future for their country that has nothing to do with extremism and or or record im. and we must not -- and terrorism. and we must not leave those people feeling abandoned by the world. >> dr. julian lewis. >> unfortunately, the record of moderates in standing up against extremists in such situations isn't all that great. does the foreign secretary
6:48 pm
accept that our sworn enemies, al-qaeda, are fighting on the side of the opposition and that, therefore, our concern is that if and when the appalling assad regime is overthrown as the government bushes, its chemical -- wishes, its chemical weapons stocks will fall into al-qaeda's hands? what practical guarantee can the government give us that that will not happen? i asked this question on monday, it wasn't satisfactorily answered, that's why i'm asking it again. >> well, no one, mr. speaker, can give any guarantee. this is why a political transition is needed in syria. this is why what should happen is an orderly transition. because there are, certainly, there are in syria terrible weapons, chemical and biological weapons. and that's why i think it's important to be clear that there is no military-only solution, whatever one's point of view to the situation in syria.
6:49 pm
and so those chemical weapons are best safeguarded in a peaceful transition. that's why we have to keep up the argument. but without giving additional assistance to the moderate elements of the opposition, if we were not to do that, we would be reducing rather than enhancing the prospects for such an orderly transition. >> mr. mike gates. >> thank you, mr. speaker. isn't the reality that it would be more secure and more inour enters to have a no-fly zone than to arm the opposition? cause we can keep control of the equipment in a no-fly zone, and we can't if we hand it over to jihadist groups? but isn't it also the reality that the united states administration and some neighboring countries including turkey are against a no-fly zone and, therefore, we're not able to do it? >> well, to have a no-fly
6:50 pm
zone -- by the way, just to be clear, i've not announced arming the opposition, so this is something different. this is increasing the level of assistance w give to the op suggestion, and it was non-- opposition, and it was nonlethal equipment. but he is putting the case for an external military intervention rather than moving to any policy in the future of lethal equipment, supportin heath call equipment going into syria. there is a respectable case for that. but i made the point to his honorable friend earlier that to do that there would have to be the willingness on part of a large part of the international community, almost certainly including the united states, to do that. there would have to be that willingness so that we were not making a false promise to people of safety. syria is a country that continues to have strong air defenses with very modern equipment, and the implementation of a noly zone would be a very large military
6:51 pm
undertaking. and so it's important that those who advocate, and bear that many many -- bear that in mind. >> sir general powell. >> however distressing the picture we see on our television, and it is indeed diss stressing, i'm extremely concerned that the united kingdom's hand is being drawn ever closer into this mangle, and i share all the concerns and say what confidence does the foreign secretary have in his belief that these what he calls, i think, the moderate and democratic forces can be assisted and will, therefore, be in charge of a postconflict sya? because if he's not confident, then what we will be faced with is more bloody jihadists. and i hope my honorable friend will completely rule out the use of britain's armed forces who are already greatly overstretche
6:52 pm
>> well, what i'm confident about, i fully understand my honorable friend's concern, and is that giving support, giving the active support of the kind that i've described to that moderate and democratic opposition is the best with way to help insure that this they are the ones who are successful. their chances of success will be less in standing up to extremists, our honorable friend rightly pointed out that very often the moderate forces who lose out to eremists in these situations, their chances will be less the longer this goes on and theless support theyeceive from outside. so we have to make a choice about when we are prepared to give that support. and i think it's the right choice for the united kingdom to increase the level of support to people who we would be prepared to see succeed. >> mr. jeremy corbin. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the situation in syria is, obviously, appalling, and the humanitarian crisis is
6:53 pm
absolutely devastating. but at the end of every war, it requires a political solution of some sort. could he tell us what serious negotiations are upside taken with saudi arabia and qatar who are fundamentally the funders of the opposition forces in syria and what serious engagement is being with the goth of iran particularly on bringing about some kind of comprehensive peace negotiation d peace process? because without that there will be more suffering, more deaths and more difficulties for everybody. >> well, the honorable gentleman makes a fair point in that regional powers were able to agree among themselves about the situation and about a solution, that would be an enormous step forward. just as if the fife permanent members of the u.n. security could council were able to agree, it would be a vital step forward. there have been such attempts. and, in fact, through last autumn the egyptian government
6:54 pm
convened a group of egypt and saudi arabia and iran and turkey to consider the situation together and see if they could come to an agreed way forward. i have to tell him that that group did not come to an agreed way forward. that's not to say such a group can't be revised in the future. we have absolutely no problem with such a group ing assembled. it can be revived. but it didn't succeed, and it didn't succeed pause iran has not -- because iran has not been prepared to come to an agreed way forward with other countries in the region. it doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried again. >> bob stewart. >> thank you, mr. speaker. in this civil war, foreign secretary, it seems there is a military stalemate between two sides who have military forces. under those circumstances and considering each side claims that it wants to negotiate, is there any chance that we canut
6:55 pm
all our efforts into getting a ceasefire arranged so that in that ceasefire when the guns stop and civilians stop being killed, we might actually be able to use politics to solve the situation? >> here, here. >> in this, again, is a very good thought although, again, we have -- it has been tried. it should be tried again. of course, in any negotiated way forward a ceasefire would be a very impornt element of the early part of such negotiations. my honorable friend may recall that last summer the u.n. envoy pa himmy -- brahimi proposed a ceasefire, and there was some hope for a short time that it would be implemented. there were many efforts to implement it in parts of of syria. but it broke down after a very short time, within days the ceasefire had completely broken down. and, again, that doesn't mean that shouldn't be top of the
6:56 pm
agen of negotiations. but as my honorable friend can gather, we don't have successful negotiations for the moment, much as though we will discuss that with mr. brahimi this often. >> ms. stewart. >> thank you, mr. speaker. could the foreign secretary tell us the discsions he's had with turkey and what turkey's attitude is towards easing the arms eargo. >> turkey isery supportive of the change that the european union has made in the arms embargo, and indeed, turkey has a forward-leaning approach, let's just say, to this crisis. and and the turkey foreign minister was here, he would not only say what i have said, but a great deal more about the need for international support to the coalition. i'll be meeting him again tomorrow here in london when he co toss the friends of yemen meeting. but turkey's certainly very, or very sportive of this
6:57 pm
announcement and of the change to e. policy. >> mr. bernard jenkin. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i welcome my friend's rht honorable statement. i note that he does not rule out any option, and in specific answer to my honorable friend's question, he does not rule out military intervention. while no country is yet advocating that, if syria is meant to be part of a primary interest in our national security strategy, are we quipped to deal with this crisis, and to what extent should he be talking to his opposite member, my right honorable friend the defense secretary, about what contingencies should be laid and, indeed, what additional expenditure is required in order to give us the capacity to at least influence the security situation around problem? >> well, of course, the defense secretary and i discussed the
6:58 pm
whole range of international affairs on an almost continuous basis, and we make the decision about our policy on syria in the national security council or in the cabinets. we discussed in this yesterday at the cabinet, and the defense secretary and i are very much o the same mind and work closely together on all contingencies. the minister of defense has planned for, as my honorable friend knows, for a great range of contingencies. it's not helpful the to speculate, for ministers to speculate about those contingencies, and i stress as i've made clear earlier that we're not calling for, nor are we planning a military intervention. the discussion in the interor tional community is ability the -- is abouthe degree of support rather tan an external intervention. so we will plan for our contingencies, but that is the context and the background to any military role in this crisis. >> ms. louise helmand. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
6:59 pm
what does the foreign secreta think is the likelihood of emical weapons being used in sur ya or for -- in syria, or for those weapons to be moved to hezbollah in lebanon, destabilizing the wider region? >> we are, as i said in my summit, increasingly concerned about the regime's possible use, possible willingness to use chemical weapons. and we're always concerned, as are many other countries in the region, about the transfer, any transfer of those weapons to other groups or to other countries in the region. and we send the strong message that i gave if my statement -- in my statement. the president of the united states himself has given a similar strong message aut the use of chemical weapons by anybody and including the syrian regime. i think it's very important for them to hear that message or the world will be determined that the indivuals responsible are held to account if chemical
7:00 pm
weapons are used. >> mr. martin woolward. >> i strongly support the foreign secretary's stand on this very difficult issue, and will he tell mr. bog canoff this afternoon that with a million fled and as many as 100,000 dead, it stands in comparison with the rwandan genocide which led the international community with responsibility to protect doctrine in the first place and that russia should engage with the forcesr face the prospect of a jihadist regime which neither we, nor they would want? >> basically i will tell him that, yes. absolutely. this is part of the argument, and as i said earlier, russia is concerned, rightly concerned about international terrorism. russians have experience with that themselves. but the, if this situation goes on for many more months or years, well, then we are going to see auch greater opening
7:01 pm
for such international terrorism. and it is, indeed, it is becoming a human catastrophe of immense proportions. so my honorable friend can be confident that i will make this argument in the robust terms he would want me to to my russian counterpart. >> [inaudible] >> mr. speaker, can i thank the right honorable gentleman for advanced copy of the statement? i do welcome the emphas in his statement on humanitarian aid. i'm sure we'd all agree that it's time now for all nations to focus on a nonviolent resolution if at all possible. clearly, that's obvious. but yesterday israel said, threatened the security council as the right honorable gentleman knows that it cannot stand idle, as it puts it, if the syrian civil war spills over onto its border. now, it's a very serious position, and i'm sure the right honorable gentleman's aware of that, and we need to be doing everything we can to provide further confirmation, i think. >> absolutely.
7:02 pm
the honorable member is absolutely quite right. the danger of, that the spread regionally, the sead into other countries in different ys of this crisis is one of the reasons we cannot just watch it develop. we have work out the best constructive approach, difficult though these choices are. to trying to push this crisis in the right direction at that dirr than drift in the wrong direct. and, indeed, any of the neighboring countries will take actionf their borders are infringed, of course. we have agreed to the stawtioning of patriot missiles by nato in turkey. lebanon has been very concerned about clashes on its border. the jordanian and iraqi border is a tense place, and basketball that is even before we consider the golan heights and the iraqi border as well. so the regional dimension to this is of increasingand serious concern, and that's one of the reasons for this package
7:03 pm
of policy changes and announcements that aye -- i've given today. >>r. edward lee. >> may i strongly reject the neo-con policies and ideas emanating from are our right honorable friend from kensington? what could be gained by our selling arms in this cauldron? have we forgotten the disastrous policy of arming the rebels in afghanistan? have we forgotten the atrocities being committed against christians in syria? what's wrong with basing our policy on life, not death? >> i've never considered myself a neo-con and don't use that, don't describe myself as that foreign secretary. our policy must be very carefully calibrated, and my honorable friend draws attention to situations where, which have go seriously wrong from the point of view of the international community. we've also, though, got to bear
7:04 pm
in mind if we look athe western fallinglands in the 1990s, the isolatn of muslims in many parts of the world are a policy which for too long denied people any ability in a extreme situation to protect themselves. and so i think our policy, the policy that i have announced of doing what we can to protect civilian life is a necessary and proportionate response. >> mr. jeffrey robinson. >> m speaker, the foreign secretary's well aware there's no shortage of lethal weapons in syria at all. there's ry little case for us supplying it and, indeed, putting it quite frankly, supplying four wheel drive vehicles as well as body armor to the opposition isn't necessarily driving around in this total personal immunity isn't best characterized -- [inaudible] credit for our policy or the
7:05 pm
civilians who continue to live amidst appalling suffering and danger. will you carry the whole house -- [inaudible] is a massive increase in our human tear assistance, and if you could find european partners into doing that, that's where his efforts ought to be directed. >> well, the right honorable gentleman can be pleased in that case because we have announced enormous increases in our humanitarian assistance. my right honorable frienwho was here earlier announced when she attended the kuwait conference at the end of january a vast increase, a 50 million pound increase taking it to 140 million pounds. we're one of the biggest donors in the world to try to alleviate humanitarian suffering. i think he should be wn he quotes the list of what i say we will be sending, i hope he will quote the full list about medical supplies, about water purification, measures that will
7:06 pm
help prevent the spread of disease so that the need to alleviate humanitarian suffering is ts right at the top of our minds, and it is the, it is what britain is devoting by far the greatest resources to in all the effort we're putting into this crisis. >> mr. chrispin -- blunt. >> following any statement he was absolutely right to dr attention to the jihadists committing atrocities using explosive devices including car bombs. i have a british-syrian constituent who is on the verge of defying british citizenship. he has immediate family who have been killed by such a car bomb. she now wants to bring her parents to the u.k. simply to take up some respite from what is happening there. they're faced with an incredibly difficult journey in order to simply make the application to come here which now seems extremely difficult, um, en if they're able to succeed, even if
7:07 pm
they got here. if the circumstances are as i have tribed, um -- described, um, would he make clear that in those is circumstances an application for the parents to come here is the kind of thing that would merit his support? >> um, wl, as my honorable friend knows, he's described the case very well, but such decisions are for the home secretary. and i can'tsay within all circumstances weill be opening doors for pele to come to the united kingdom. there are, there's now a million refugees in other countries, as i said, but it is the responsibility of those countries that receive the refugees to lookafter them with international support, and i pay tribute to the generosity of the people of lebanon and turkey and jordan and iraq and what they're doing. and we're doing our best to assist with that. so i think that is the prime way for refugees to be assisted. but his question is a reminder
7:08 pm
that there are not only four million out of the population of 21 million who are displaced or are in desperate need, many of the remaining people are in extremely dangerous and stressful conditions and unable to pursue normal life in any way. so it is, it is affecting the great jority of the whole country. >> hugh bailey. >> the difference between factions in the opposition only makes the extremts stronger than they otherwise would be. but it also makes the process of staging negotiations extremely difficult, and the ability to determine who will be a government to syria when the regime falls absolutely impossible. so what is our government doing and allies doing to get greater coherence and common purpose within the moderate opposition? >> secretary. >> there is much greater coherence, mr. speaker, than for a long time.
7:09 pm
's not surprising that it's difficult in these circumstances, of course, to bring together something like the national coalition. but it is, it is very much t best attempt that can reasonably be made to bring together those moderate and democratic forces. and it is there now to be negotiated with. quite often over the last two years it has been the refrain of some of the other countries on the security council or of the regime, well, we want to negotiate, but we don't have someone to negotiate with. now they do not have that excuse. the national coalition is there for them to negotiate with, and it is willing to negotiate. so the onus is now on the regime to show that it can seriously negotiate. >> mr. john barron. >> mr. speaker, i urge caution. human rights have said by arming the rebels we could be arming the terrorists of the future as well as escalating the violence. but would i bring the foreign
7:10 pm
secretary back to his comments over the weekend which did clearly indicate a change in thinking when it came to nonlethal support. to what extent were his comments a reflection of the fact we now get reports that president obama is thinking about changing his policy on this issue? >> i'm not aware of any inconsistency in what i've said. in fact, throughout i've said we don't rule out any options. i've said that for two years. and it would be a strange thing, indeed, as the situation got worse to start ruling out options when we've not done that at any period. so that's what i said today, and that's what i said at the weekend. but what we're actually proposing to do is what i've set out today,nd my honorable friend will know from the announcement that secretary kerry made that it is closely related to what the united states has announced, they have announced $60 million of additional practical support but nonheath call support -- lethal support to the coalition, and i
7:11 pm
have announced $20 million to use a comparative figure that the united kingdom will provide. so our policy is cloly aligned with the united states, but neither country is advocated the policies which my right honorable friend is so strongly opposed. >> roy. >> would the syrian rebels use armored vehicles during battle, wouldn't that be seen as the united kingdom giving lethal assistance? >> such vehicles are nonleth quilt. that's how they are defined -- equipment, that's how they are defined. that applies as well to body armor. but the -- [inaudible] could advocate a different policy of not trying t save lives in syria. that is what he is suggesting in his question, that we say, no, we will not try to save lives, we will not send people who desperately ask for this kind of assistance even though they are slaughtered in huge numbers. well, that is his choice to advocate that policy, but i don't think that is either
7:12 pm
responsible or would give moral authority to our policy. >> newton. >> thank you. i'm very concerd for my constituents whose syrian christian family living in aleppo are being persecuted for their faith and their friends mudderred by the jihad the secretary of state has mentioned. so what sort of assurance can be given to us that any british support is not helping rebels who are also islamic fundamentalists? >> um, this is a very important point, and it's important to stress as i did earlier to other questions that our purport is to the moderate and democratic forces in syria. and it's one of the reasons, of course, all our support i've set out is also nonlethal. but it also is important for us to monobest we can that -- monitor best we can the use of that equipment. if we thought that equipment was
7:13 pm
at any stage being used by people we had not intended it for, then our attitude would, of course, have to change dramatically. >> mr. paul flynn. >> the house is deeply united on the humanitarian aid. wee deeply divided on the oversimplified view of the foreign secretary who on this complex civil war he couldn't bring himself to mention the front who a jihadist group and a vital part of the opposition who have been accused of some of the mostlood thirsty massacre of civilians, can he give an absolute guarantee that before we commit mlitary equipment or personnel to syria there'll be a debate and a vote in this house to avoid us repeating what we've done so often in trying to punch our way, we dive beyond our responsibilities somewhere well, the honorable member, i'm sure, has been listening carefully and will know i've not advocated
7:14 pm
sending military equipment or personnel. and, of course, we have our conventions of which he and i are strong supporters in this house that when we take decisions in the house, and we will observe all of those conventions. but he will also have to defer with his long concern for humanitarian issues whether it would be right to be completely static in the face of this situation, and that is the alternative to what i have described. everybody, everybody is concerned, rightly, across the house about the humanitarian situation. but i don't believe it is responsible for policy to sit still in the face of a rapidly worsening situation. >> mr. james morris. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the foreign secretary or mentioned the increasing evidence of the involvement of the iranian regime in the arming of the assad regime. would he agree with me that there mit be opportunities to put pressure on theiranian regime to desist in the context
7:15 pm
of the ongoing negotiations around the nuclear, the iranian nuclear program? >> well, i'm not sure the negotiations provide that opportunity to put that pressure. those negotiations are very focused on the nuclear program, and i reported to the house yesterday during foreign office questions the progress, but it's very early stage that was made in those negotiations that was made inial matty last week. i hi the pressure should differd the a different pressure, and that is that the world knows about these activities, that in the end in the syria it will be proved that the assad regime is doomed and that there'll be many people in syria who will not want to forgive iran for intervening with, in all the ways that i've described, including with armed personnel in what is happening in syria.
7:16 pm
>> jenny chapman >> thank you, mr. speaker. how concerned is the foreign secretary at the u.n. high commissioner's comments this morning on refugees that they had underestimated severely the number of refugees that would be leaving syria, and they have barely 25% of the resources that they needed to deal with the now million people leaving the country? what is he doing with colleagues to make sure the lack of preparedness isn't allowed to continue? ..
7:17 pm
>> novel countries are, one have billions will pledge. now have to make sure that other countries deliver on those promises. and so of course we are raising that, many bilateral meetings with other nations involved in this over the next 36 hours. we are raising that with each of those countries but we all know how to deliver on the pledges we have made. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the sector as they will know the united states was one of the last leading countries to recognize the syrian opposition. is there now and agree to join policy by united kingm and the u.s.a.? is their joint policies? >> there is a joint policy to my honorable friend will notice that what secrety kerry announced last week, very close to what i am announcing this week. discuss it with them on several occasions last week in london. we have a very similar view of
7:18 pm
both of the grvity of the crisis and the need for increased action of the kind that i have been asked today in order to try to speed and resolution of the crisis. so he can be assured that london and washington are very closely online on it. >> john cryer. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i've heard many statements like this in years gone by, and most of the time would end up being involved in a quagmire from which we cannot extricate ourselves. i take it youthat now we can't have a full debate in government with the possibili of a boat. >> i think it's important for the honorable member to distinguish situations where we, britain, may be involved in a quagmire where we are helping other people to try to get out of a quagmire. and that is what we're trying to do with this sort of assistae. we cannot turn aside requests
7:19 pm
for assistance, but, of course, in getting, i think this is the eighth statement i've given about syria, i'm always willing to comto the house and debate it. >> [inaudible] >> thank you, mr. speaker. the foreign secretary but impact on the wider region. could become i on jordan, a key strategic ally with very limited resources that is facing a huge influx of refugees from syria? >> i pay tribute to the people and the government of jordan. i visited last summer the refugee reception areas, just inside the jordanian border. since then, the numbers involved have got much larger. there are over 312,000 refugees in jordan, most of them residing with host communities and milies, but some are in camps. the jordanians have done a magnificent job. we discuss regular with them how we can help further.
7:20 pm
we're meeting with foreign minister of jordan tomorrow, and we will be discussing this further than. >> dr. phil fully. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the late father of the current president of syria, a very ruthless and murders individual did have the reputation of doing what he said he was going to do. by contrast his son is a fundamentally weak individual surrounded by stronger -- to what extent does defence secrary agree with me that the personal weakness the president of syria will make a diplomatic solution if not impossible very unlikely? >> my honorable friend is right that this is one of the -- describing an obstacle. there are of course, not only the president of city but other members of his family close involved, including his brother in the power structure in syria. and, of course, an entire system of finance and power and reward, an entire premed which president
7:21 pm
assad is simply the op. so a solution to this, a political diplomatic solution requires people much further down that david to agree that it is a good idea. that makes a very complex. that is one of the reasons of the negotiations by the regime are not actually followedup by serious negotiations. so it is indeed one of the obstacles. >> [inaudible] very bleak picture of a dangerous civil war with a toxic mix of iranian involvement, possibly al qae, and other extremists. even that, what assessments have the british government made of the alleged involvement of hezbollah and the conflict in syria? and for the otential for regional instability that would flow from that?
7:22 pm
>> there is some, there's potential that we have discussed for regional, including in lebanoncome and including in relations to hezbollah. and one of the dangers is of clashes on the lebanese border, the south of lebanon bween hezbollah and the free syrian army o other elemen of the syrian opposition. and let a lone syrian regime forces as well. so that is one of the dangers. i don't have any other evidence i can quote about hezbollah, but that in itself is a great danger. and is one of the reasons we are assisting with t stability of lebanon. in lebanon two weeks ago i announced additional british funding for the lebanese armed forces, who are a very important part of trying to keep that border peaceful, including our direct help of a construction of border observation post. and, of course, everything else that we e doing to try to bring about a resolution. >> my right honorable fend has
7:23 pm
always been clear that we've tried to stop the killing and find a peaceful solution. it a peaceful solution can be fined, if assad stays in power, would reveal to accept the to or have we reached a stage where a precursor to the 20 deal, assad moscow? >> it's not for us to decide he was in power fm any other country, including in syria. it is of course the position of the syrian national coalition, of all opposition groups that they want the departure of president assad. but we will not be more like the syrian opposition than the syrian opposion. he has said he is willing to negotiate. that is appreciation we should support. but it is impossible to see, for any observer of these events, to see president assad ever again being able to unify our govern his country. we say he should go, but the
7:24 pm
opposition has offered to negotiate. that is a right. >> it is clear that the house shares the humanitarian urgency that the foreign secretary has taken in so well, but many also are concerned that that urgency should not entail -- a real agenda of some of the opposition forces. cannot acknowledge particular principles that have been expressed by the foreign secretary today? our reign policy is inseparable from upholding human rights, protecting and it supporting international law? we must assist a democratic forces here in dire need of help that a been abandoned by the international community. we cannot look the other way with international law and human rights. when will we see those principles manifest and the governments engagement and other situations? >> well, they are. that may take us wider than the
7:25 pm
subject, absolutely wider than the subject. i welcome in china what the honorable member says. and, of course, this is the object of our policy more broadly in foreign policy. we are heavily engaged in conflict prevention, conflict resolution in somalia, in yemen, in sudan, and in a work that we do now to promote an arms trade treaty, to pursue my own initiative on preventing sexual violence and conflict. united kingdom, the united kingdom, continued has a strong ecord in conflict prevention >> more from london with british prime minister's questions. bonuses for bankers and government's welfare policies and housing benefits. this is 35 minutes, from earlier today.
7:26 pm
>> in addition to my duties in this house, i should have further such meetings today. >> over 2.5 million households are affected. [inaudible] >> that is absolutely clear. this is not a tax. let me explain. a tax is when you earn some money. the government takes some of that money away from you. that is a tax.
7:27 pm
let me be clear. pensioners are exempt, people with severely disabled children are exempt and people who need round the clock care are exempt. there's a basic issue of fairness. how can it be fair that people on housing benefits in private rented accommodations do not get a fair room subsidy where people in socializing do, that isn't fair and we are putting that right. >> thank you, mr. speaker. over the last 20 years, there is a 137% increase in deaths linked to alzheimer's disease. if we are going to stop this disease, we need to invest much more in preventing this disease and research in particular. will you outline to the house what the government is doing to help? >> my honorable friend raises
7:28 pm
concern to everyone, no one knows when you can get afflicted. this is a disease and we should be thinking about it as a disease in the way we try to research cancer, heart disease and strokes and we are increasing money to prevent alzheimer's but there are many thing we need to do to improve the care in hospitals and make sure we have more friendly communities so we all learn how to deal with people who have alzheimer's and have productive lives as possible. >> mr. speaker, i would like to ask the prime minister about an individual case that has been raised with me. there is a worry from one about his living standards. his salary is one million pounds and worried under the proposed
7:29 pm
e.u. regulations, his bonus may be capped at two million pounds. can the prime minister tell us what he's going to do for john? >> what i would say to john and everyone like john is under this government, bonuses are one quarter of what they were earlier. i will take lots of lectures from lots of people, but i don't have to listen to it in the casino when it went bust. >> mr. speaker, i know the prime minister doesn't want to deal with the facts but he toured europe yesterday in order to argue against the bonus tax. now, he says presumably because he thinks it will be bad for
7:30 pm
london, but who led the negotiations, mr. speaker, on the bonus tax? it was a conservative member of the european parliament. and what did she say, we have managed to produce a deal that will strike the right balance for the majority of bankers to take responsible decisions. why the prime minister and the chancellor the only people who think it's a priority to fight the bigger bonuses for bankers. >> he is completely wrong. we have some of the toughest rules on bonuses and toughest rules on transparency than any major financial center. and when they were in charge where was the transparency? there was none. where were the rules? there were none. there is an important issue here. there are some important british national interests. we are responsible for 40% of the e.u.'s financial services. those industries are here in our country and we ought to make
7:31 pm
sure they go on in contributing. we want to make sure that international banks go on being head quartered here in the u.k. we think that matters. he might want to pose and play politics, but we care about these things. we also want to make sure that we can put in place the very top ring fence around our retail banks so the complete shambles he presided over can never happen again. >> this is the man who in opposition said there will be a day of reckoning for the bankers and now he sends his chancellor to fight against the bonus tax. what is he arguing? that there should be more regulations of the banks. oh, let's see. what did he say? david cameron a conservative economic strategy, march, 2008, i have it here. as a free marketeer by
7:32 pm
conviction, it wouldn't surprise you to hear me say the problem of the last decade has been too much regulation. so there we have it, mr. speaker. but let me say, i think john the banker, will take heart that the prime minister is straining every muscle to help him. now let me ask him about a case of the hundreds of thousands of disabled people who live the average of 700 pounds a year. is he going to fight for them like he is fighting for john the banker? let us just remember what happened in 2008 when he was in government, the biggest banking bust in our history, the buildup of the biggest deficit. all the mess we are having to deal with now was delivered by
7:33 pm
him and his henchmen in 2008. let him speak and apologize for the mess he left this country. apologize. >> mr. speaker. , mr. speaker >> there are people that don't like the proceedings runs out. it doesn't matter to me, the more noise, the more disruption, the longer it takes, it's very simple. >> i do notice the prime minister has a new tactic, which is to ask me questions in our exchanges. all i can say, it's good to see him preparing for opposition, mr. speaker. and the secretary shakes her head and i look forward to facing her when they are in the
7:34 pm
opposition. he didn't answer the question about the bedroom tax. he talked about the hardship fund. let's look at the facts. there is 25 million pounds allocated to help disabled people to help them in the bedroom tax, but how much do his own figures show he is taking from disabled people, 306 million pounds. will he admit that the vast majority of disabled people who are hit by his bedroom tax will get no help from his hardship fund? >> i will make no apology for the mess left by your party. on on the subsidy, his figures are completely wrong. the last thing he just said before he sat down is we are cutting the money going to disabled people. that is simply not the case. in 2009-2010, the money spent
7:35 pm
was $12.4 billion and 2014, there is no cut in the money going to the disabled. this government is protecting that money in spite of the mess he made. on the subsidy, pensioners are exempt, people with disabled children are exempt, anyone who needs help around the clock is also exempt and he is reading letters from his constituents, let me read out one i got on this issue from a petitioners, we are expected to find extra money. they are exempt but they are terrified by his complete irresponsible comments. >> i think all that means is that there was nothing in the briefing on the question i asked. let me just make it clear because he obviously doesn't understand it.
7:36 pm
his own impact assessment, which he might read, that there are 420,000 disabled people hit by the bedroom tax, an average of 700 pounds a year. that's 306 million pounds. the money in the hardship fund allocated to disabled people is just 25 million pounds. will he admit the basic math, will he admit the vast majority of disabled people will get no help by the hardship fund and get hit by the bedroom tax. >> anyone with disabled children is exempt. >> order! order! members mustn't shout. the question has been asked and it was heard and the answer must be heard. the prime minister. >> completely ignores the fact that anyone with severely disabled children is exempt and anyone who needs around the clock help is exempt. the point he has to address is
7:37 pm
this, we are spending 23 billion pounds on housing benefits, that is 50% over the last decade. 1,000 pounds every year for every basic rate taxpayer. we say it's time to reform housing benefits and only fair that you treat people in social housing the same way as in private renting housing. he has no proposals but just to up borrowing. >> we established today the prime minister doesn't understand his own policies. it is shameful to be doing this and not even trying to understand the impact of it on the people of this country. he pulled all the stops to defend the bankers and his bonuses but nothing to say for the disabled people. he stands up for the wrong people. no wonder that his back benches in the country think he is totally out of touch.
7:38 pm
>> what we have heard today is what we hear every single wednesday, they will not support one single change to welfare. they won't support reforms to housing benefits and didn't support when we took housing benefits away from people. they wouldn't support changes to child benefits or any changes to d.l.a. or any support changes to tax benefits. they have opposed 83 billion pounds of welfare savings and that is the point. they have to admit that their policy is to put up borrowing. they have debt, debt and more debt. >> thank you, mr. speaker. forgive me. on the 8 of march, we celebrate
7:39 pm
international women's day. would the prime minister join me in calling upon the indian and pakistani governments to do more to uphold the rights of women and advance the gender agenda? >> i think my honorable friend is right to raise this and there are some particular issues we should really focus on a that is female genital mutilation. and we will be making an announcement about that. but we should do more to crack down on the unacceptable practice of forced marriages. there are still forced marriages taking place right here with people involved in the united kingdom and we need to do more to put a stop to it. >> i have been asked by the good people to open a food bank and i'm proud of these people who are pulling together as a community. but i carry shame that this
7:40 pm
government is driving people more and more, working people -- and i see people waving this away. is it a question of morality? the government must look after the poor as well as the rich. >> welcome people that are making this contribution in our country as the last labour government did in giving the organization that founded food banks a prize and an award for their work. i point out to them the use of food banks went up 10 times under labour. but one thing labour refused to do which we have done which is to allow job centers to point people towards food banks if they need them. the last labour government was worried about the adverse publicity and put that worry before the needs of people up and down the country. >> mr. speaker, does the prime minister agree we cannot borrow less by borrowing more? we cannot deal with the deficit
7:41 pm
left by the last labour government and that the plans to do so is morally and financially bankrupt? >> the policy of the official opposition is borrow less by borrowing more. and that is why the leader of the opposition comes here week after week and asks about all sorts of questions that he will never mention his borrowing policy. extraordinary point. the leader of the opposition as a policy, he is so embarrassed about, he can't tell the house of commons. >> david nicholson showed culpable ignorance while a thousand of people died needlessly. how can the public have confidence in the organization? well the prime minimums the ter
7:42 pm
do anything? >> he has very frankly and very candidly apologized and acknowledged the mistakes that were made and it is an important point because everyone has to think of their responsibilities with regard to the dreadful events that happened at the hospital, including the fact that part of the problem was people following a very top-down target-led agenda which led to patient care on the back burner. david wants to get on his job of running a national health service and other people should be thinking of their positions, too. >> would you agree with me that even governing parties can win marching marginal elections if they campaign hard in a fair society? >> i will certainly welcome the new member of parliament for the
7:43 pm
period of this parliament. i'm sure that he will enjoy making contribution to our debate. >> the prime minister told me that he would not be forcing commissioners to put health services -- [inaudible] >> doctors and nurses as well as 250,000 members of the public said they didn't believe him. was yesterday's withdrawal of the competition -- [inaudible] >> with respect to the honorable lady, there is an attempt to create a false argument. the aim is to ensure that the rules for procurement and diversity in the n.h.s. fully respects the position that was
7:44 pm
put in place by the last government that has been repeated in this government and what we are doing is putting out beyond any doubt. what i would say to you, what are we to be frightened of by making sure in our brilliant n.h.s. you can get a full contribution from private sector companies, from voluntary and charitable bodies, too. that is actually the manifesto she stood on in the last election. i remind her, we will support -- >> the independent sector, working alongside the n.h.s. particularly where they bring innovation. what happens is when the labour party goes into opposition, they become a wholly-owned zear of the trade movement.
7:45 pm
>> there is a recommendation of the closure of acute and most emergency and maternity services at stafford. when my friend meets with me to discuss the serious impact it would have on services including the two signal regimens we welcome in 2015. >> i'm very happy to speak with him. the trust continues to face serious financial challenges and his work to improve services for patients and as required by the legislation, they will be consulting with the health secretary as well as others before making the final decision to go ahead. if he wants to discuss it with me or the secretary of health, happy to have that conversation. >> this week, it is reported that one in 10 people in new case will have borrowed money to
7:46 pm
pay for food. our poorest house holets are going to be asked to find 125 pounds per month to pay for the bedroom tax. so could the prime minister say whether at the same time he personally will be benefiting from the millionaire's tax? >> let me address the issue of the spare room subsidy in new castle specifically, because there are 9,000 people on social housing waiting list. this is important. throughout the country, you have 250,000 people who are living in overcrowded accommodations who would love to have access to a house with more room and 386,000 people who are living in overcrowded housing. the party opposite doesn't want to recognize that reality and have nothing to offer. >> last year, more than 100 women were killed by men in the
7:47 pm
united kingsdom and we know domestic violence happens across this entire country. will the the prime minister take ways to reduce this appalling crime and provide services who suffer in my constituency? >> i'm happy to do that. fighting domestic violence is an important part of international women's week. i commend the police and the local authorities who have done good work in bringing the agencies together to make sure we have a joint approach of trying to crack this difficult problem which she says has been often hidden from view. >> mr. ronny campbell. >> a recent report suggested that that we are being depressed by 3% -- not you, silly.
7:48 pm
why is it that bankers spend and speculators can get away -- [inaudible] when is the prime minister going to get a grip on these fat cats? if he isn't going to get a grip, let my friend get a grip. >> when his honorable friends are in charge, the bonuses were in higher and the banks were going bust and wasn't proper regulation. he can try and wave it away but those two were sitting in the casino when the country nearly went bust. >> does the prime minister welcome the action that make sure pay day lenders act responsibly and fairly?
7:49 pm
>> the fact is, a number of pay day leapeders have been behaving in an irresponsible way. there are 50 firms on notice over their behavior and requiring them to take specific actions, face infines or having their licenses revoked and maybe referring the entire sector to the competition commission. i commend them for what they have done. >> a college has had a cut of 280. that's a 10% cut december pit unemployment. with rising unemployment, why is the prime minister denying young people of education. cutting taxes for millionaires and young people have no future? >> in her region, employment is up by 21,000 this quarter.
7:50 pm
up by 74,000 since the election. 192,000 people in her region out of tax altogether and unemployment is down since the election. >> mr. speaker, like many others, i welcome last week's speakers showing the annual net migration has fallen by a third. does the prime minister agree with me that the government is ending uncontrolled migration while the party opposition has opesed -- opposed every step we have taken? >> we have taken action right across the board to deal with the completely unacceptable situation that we have inherited under the last government. net migration ran over 200,000 a year, two million a decade, two cities the size of birmingham coming and staying in our
7:51 pm
country under their completely bankrupt system. we have cut the migration by a third and taking a series of steps none of which they have supported. tonight, we are going to get a faint apology from the leader of the opposition. it is as real as his fake apology for having left us in the mess we are in. >> after the riots, the prime minister offered public safety. under the latest proposals, every police station will close down and fewer police officers and an inadequate number that existed after the riot. is this another broken promise? >> first of all, his figures are wrong. the number of neighborhood police officers in london is up from 8,895 to 3,418. crime is down and he should be welcoming that rather than
7:52 pm
criticizing it. >> the prime minister says it should form a tax electoral package. how are the talks going? >> i commend my honorable friend and he reveals a little bit further and all right, enough. enough already. what i can say, it was a good, honest and fair fight. what i would be absolutely clear about is the party that is meant to be challenging as the opposition in our country when -- went precisely no where. >> russell brown. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my constituents have demanded
7:53 pm
that big businesses pay their full taxes. likewise they are asking all individuals to pay their taxes. and you prime minister have cut from 50 feet. can i welcome the fact that he sports this initiative on tax transparency which we are going to make some real progress. what i would say to him the reason for replacing the rate is the 50-b rate wasn't raising proper money. it raised 7 billion pounds less. that is probably why in 10 years in office, the labour party never put it in place and that is why under this government, the 45-b rate will be higher than when the two of them were
7:54 pm
sitting in the casino. >> the widely benefits may or may not be realized in 20 years' time. the anxiety that this project generates hit on the 20th of january. and concerns over houses and businesses uncertain and potential loss of the private sector investment, can you ensure that representatives visit my constituencies about this project? >> i'm happy to make sure that what my honorable friend asked for happens. i quite understand that when you launch a project like hs-2 concerns ease. we are putting a large national consultation and put in place a very generous compensation scheme. if we are going to win in the
7:55 pm
global race economically, we have to make sure we invest in new infrastructure, whether it is roads, bypasses, tunnels and highways and high-speed rail. the rest of the world is getting on board and we should, too. >> giving another 150 million pounds to streamline adoption services and taking the exact term out of the care sectors early intervention grants seems to be a classic example giving with one hand and taking away with the other. is the prime minister not acting in a manner mostly associated with his partners? >> it is important we make progress with rates of adoption in our country. far too many children are left far too long in care when there are loving homes they could be adopted into. and i think taking some of that money and encouraging local authorities to raise their game
7:56 pm
can transform the life chances of other people who will be stuck in care and we know the state is not a good parent. we want to see more children adopted more quickly so they can grow up in a loving home. >> welcome the news that new car sales are up 8% in february. >> very happy to join my honorable friend in that. the fact is that the economy is rebalancing and seeing that in the exports that go to the fastest growing countries in the world. one million more people in private sector jobs and the rate of new business creation is the fastest now than it has ever been in our history. our economy employs more people now than it has ever done in our history. there is still a long difficult road to travel, but the deficit is down by a quarter. we are taking the steps we need to get our economy moving. but we have nothing constructive from the party opposite. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
7:57 pm
i'm delighted to hear the prime minister says he agrees that the pay day loan industry is irresponsible and should cut the charges. yes or no? >> most people welcome what they are doing, which is putting these companies on notice and it is worth making the point if you don't have an effective regulated sector you see dangers from loan sharks. >> the 45 million people in kenya, one of the fastest emerging markets went to elect a new government under a new constitution. i came back from dr. king who was killed last week. would the prime minister join me in sending our condolences to dr. king and support to the people of kenya?
7:58 pm
>> i commend my honorable friend for raising this issue and i pay tribute to anthony king and i know you traveled to kenya to speak at his funeral. we want to see proper, free and fair electrics completed, couned and finished in kenya and properly elected government in that country and make sure there are justice when events like this take place. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> i believe that the united
7:59 pm
states has many fantastic qualities. i do believe that maybe many people have the possibility of pulling themselves up by the boot straps. i think every year that is less and less probable. but the united states especially in its foreign policy, which is what i have worked on for years and years is not the great nation. it's an interventionist state, it is extremely aggressive militarily. we mess with ohm people's politics which i can't imagine americans tolerated. imagine we in-- a country invading us and americans thinking that's ok and somehow we still in this country have a myth that people are thrilled when we invade them. that's insane. i believe 99% of the time


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on